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Jun 05, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

Skipping Breakfast May Not Hurt Weight-Loss Plan

Breakfast
(Photo : Flickr.com) New research suggests that people who skip breakfast have high dopamine levels, which can lead to overeating and eventual weight gain.

Skipping breakfast may not ruin your weight-loss plan, according to a recent study HealthDay News reported.

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Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham dispute the notion that eating breakfast in the morning is key to weight control. They conclude that passing on the first meal of the day does not help or hinder weight loss efforts.

"We found it didn't really make a difference," study author David B. Allison, a professor of public health and associate dean for science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CBS News.

Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast can speed up metabolism, which contributes to weight loss.

For the study, researchers recruited more than 300 overweight and obese adults between the ages of 20 and 65. The participants were randomly told to eat breakfast or skip the meal, HealthDay News reported.

A control group was also included in the study. The group was given healthy nutrition information, but not any specific instructions about breakfast. People in this control group included those who ate breakfast and those who skipped breakfast.

The research team analyzed the effects of eating or skipping breakfast on weight loss, and how changing breakfast habits could influence efforts to shed unwanted pounds.

They found that there was no difference in weight loss among the various groups, HealthDay News reported.

"Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation," study author Emily Dhurandhar, an assistant professor in UAB's department of health behavior, said in a statement. "In contrast, we used a large, randomized, controlled trial to examine whether or not breakfast recommendations have a causative effect on weight loss, with weight change as our primary outcome."

However, researchers said the findings should be interpreted with caution.

"Long-term, [skipping breakfast] is not the best strategy," Keith Ayoob, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics and director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the study, told CBS News. "You may not want to eat breakfast, but you need all the nutrients that breakfast can provide."

Allison said the recent study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, should be a "wake-up call for all of us to always ask for evidence about the recommendations we hear so widely offered."

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