Two Breakfasts are Better Than None: Skipping Breakfast Results in Higher Weight Gain Compared to Those Who Ate Twice

Mar 18, 2016 07:09 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala

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It may seem counterintuitive but a recent study found out that students who eat two breakfasts are less likely to become overweight or obese compared to students who skip breakfast altogether, according to an article in Health Day.

This puts an entirely new meaning to the common belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So does it mean that two breakfasts are even better?

Apparently, that is the conclusion of the study. According to Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut Marlene Schwartz, "When it comes to the relationship between school breakfast and body weight, our study suggests that two breakfasts are better than none."

The study covers 12 urban middle schools that provided free lunch and breakfast and involved around 580 students. Researchers recorded the students' breakfast habits as well as their weights from fifth to seventh grade.

Surprisingly, researchers found out that the breakfast-skipping students generally gained more weight. To be exact, "students who skipped or didn't have breakfast on regular bases were more than twice as likely to be overweight or obese than those who ate breakfast at home and again at school." In addition, researchers noted that those who ate two breakfasts do not differ from the rest of the students in terms of weight changes.

The study, which was published on March 17, 2016 in the journal Pediatric Obesity, addressed the concern that two breakfasts may put children at a higher risk of developing obesity or unhealthy weight gain, with researchers saying that eating twice in the morning does not contribute to a higher obesity risk at all.

Obesity in children and adolescent is a health problem in the United States. Recent CDC data show that obesity has more than doubled in children while it quadrupled in adolescent in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese which CDC attributes to the "caloric imbalance" - too many calories consumed while too few calories expended.

However, the Health Day article did not explain why those who skipped are more overweight than those who took two breakfasts. A WebMD article, however, also linked skipping breakfast to weight gain. According to WebMD, when one skips breakfast, the brain is tricked into thinking it wants higher calorie foods. This motivation would result in disastrous eating choices later in the day and would result to higher overall calorie consumption in one day.

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