"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day".
This is something that everyone has probably heard at some point or other, either on the internet, from their parents or their friends.
Now, before I get in to this, there is nothing inherently wrong with breakfast, or any other meal for that matter. The timing of your food is largely up to you - as I've said before, and will probably keep repeating, overall calorie balance is the key to weight loss. Macronutrient composition (the amount of Protein, Fat and Carbs) that you eat will help with maintaining/improving body composition.
However, the line of thought that you 'must' eat breakfast for the best fat loss, or to avoid the body going into 'starvation mode', is incorrect.
The study below concludes that there is "no metabolic adaptation to breakfast". I.e. if you do or don't eat breakfast, your metabolism isn't going to change, therefore do what you prefer!
(Betts et al 2014)
Many of the observational studies conducted appear to show that those who eat breakfast lose the most weight or get better results/have a lower BMI. However, correlation does not necessarily = causation (i.e. because the breakfast eaters lost more weight, or have lower BMI's, this does not necessarily mean that eating breakfast is the reason for this).
"A recommendation to eat or skip breakfast for weight loss was effective at changing self-reported breakfast eating habits, but contrary to widely espoused views this had no discernable effect on weight loss in free-living adults who were attempting to lose weight."
(Dhurandar et al 2014)
In reality, the reason could have been because breakfast eaters are more health conscious and therefore will make better decisions all round. I.e. more structured/balanced meals, rather than eating whatever they can on the go, which is likely to lead to a better dietary quality and lower calorie meals overall.
Here is a study that is interesting to read in relation to this, if you are interested. Both groups (breakfast-eaters and non-breakfast eaters) lost weight due to a calorie deficit. However, the people who lost the most weight were those who had to make the largest change to their routine. I.e those who normally ate breakfast had to skip it and vice versa.
This would suggest that it's not so much about the specific meal, or meal timing, that will help you to get better results. It is more to do with what causes you to be conscious about how much and what you are actually eating.
A large change to your usual routine will make you think about your food in greater detail in order to help you be consistent with the change.
If you have any questions, or want more information, comment below and I'll get back to you.
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