Eating Breakfast Helps Obese, Overweight People to be More Active

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Feb 15, 2016 05:30 AM EST

OLNEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Chefs prepare pancake breakfasts on February 9, 2016 in Olney, England. On Shrove Tuesday every year the ladies of Olney, Buckinghamshire compete in a Pancake Race, a tradition which dates back to 1445. Children from Olney schools also take part in their own races. Olney competes every year against the women of Liberal, Kansas, USA in a friendly race dating back to 1950. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) (Photo : Carl Court/Getty Images)

A new study from researchers at the University of Bath Department for Health and published in the journal "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" revealed how breakfast can positively impact an obese person's eating habits and make them more active throughout the day, Eurekalert reports.

Obesity is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as having too much body fat. This is determined by computing for one's body mass index or BMI, which is different from being overweight, as the weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, or body water. Obesity increases the risk for certain illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

The latest study and previous studies were part of a three-year "Bath Breakfast Project," which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The series of studies have revealed the most comprehensive results to date about the effects of eating breakfast among obese groups.

According to Telegraph, for the study researchers analyzed a group of 21- to 60-year-old individuals and divided them into fasting and breakfasting groups. Over a six-week period, their outcomes were measured. Those in the breakfasting group were asked to consume 700 kcal worth of food by 11 a.m., with at least 350 kcal consumed within the first two hours of waking up. The fasting group were tasked to drink water until noontime.

Results showed that while having breakfast did not make obese individuals lose weight, it did result in more physical activity in the morning and lesser food intake later in the day.

"Despite many people offering opinions about whether or not you should eat breakfast, to date there has been a lack of rigorous scientific evidence showing how, or whether, breakfast might cause changes in our health," lead researcher Dr. James Betts explained, as per Daily Mail. "Our studies highlight some of these impacts, but 'how important' breakfast is still really depends on the individual and their own personal goals. For example, if weight loss is the key there is little to suggest that just having breakfast or skipping it will matter."

"However, based on other markers of a healthy lifestyle, like being more active or controlling blood sugar levels, there's evidence that breakfast may help," said Dr. Betts.

Study lead author Dr. Enhad Chowdury explained, however, that "not everybody responds in the same way to breakfast and that not all breakfasts are equal," and points out that a sugary cereal will most likely have a different effect versus a high protein breakfast.

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