BREAKFAST: Government Gets It Wrong



Good news if, like me, you enjoy bacon for dinner:

For some nutritionists, this idea is an article of faith. Indeed, it is enshrined in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the federal government’s advice book, which recommends having breakfast every day because “not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight.”

As with many nutrition tips, though, including some offered by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the tidbit about skipping breakfast is based on scientific speculation, not certainty, and indeed, it may be completely unfounded, as the experiment in New York indicated.

At 8:30 in the morning for four weeks, one group of subjects got oatmeal, another got frosted corn flakes and a third got nothing. And the only group to lose weight was… the group that skipped breakfast. Other trials, too, have similarly contradicted the federal advice, showing that skipping breakfast led to lower weight or no change at all.

“In overweight individuals, skipping breakfast daily for 4 weeks leads to a reduction in body weight,” the researchers from Columbia University concluded in a paper published last year.

I rarely have anything more substantial for breakfast than a small glass of low sodium V-8, and I’m far from anyone’s definition of overweight. Then again, I’m rarely hungry in the morning — and I try not to eat when my body isn’t telling me to.

But I suspect “skinny genes” have more to do with staying trim than the timing of our meals.