Skipping Breakfast Makes You Eat More

It makes sense, but now researchers are making it science. The Guardian reports on a study presented this week at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting showing people eat more for lunch when they miss breakfast – and that they want tastier food, too…

In the experiment, Goldstone scanned the brains of 21 men and women, all around the age of 25, on two separate days while they were shown pictures of food and asked to rate how appealing they found everything from chocolate and pizzas to vegetables and fish. On one of the days, the volunteers skipped breakfast before their scans; on the other, they were given a 750-calorie breakfast of cereals, bread and jam an hour beforehand. After the scans on both days, the volunteers were given lunch, where they could eat as much as they liked.

“Not surprisingly, when they are fasted they are hungry and they rate the high-calorie foods as more appealing than when they are fed,” said Goldstone. “For low-calorie foods, the effect is not as marked. When they come out of the scanner, they are given lunch and they eat more when they haven’t had breakfast.”

On the day they skipped breakfast, participants ate around 20 percent more at lunch – and scans showed their brains lit up when seeing the most delicious (and high-calorie) foods. This has obvious implications for both your weight and your wallet – missing breakfast in a rush likely makes you want to eat out more, and pick bigger portions of less healthy options.

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