A Review of the Evidence Surrounding the Effects of Breakfast Consumption on Mechanisms of Weight Management

Adv Nutr. 2018 Nov 1;9(6):717-725. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy047.


The recommendation to eat breakfast has received scrutiny due to insufficient causal evidence for improvements in weight management. Despite the limited number of randomized controlled trials examining the effects of breakfast consumption compared with skipping breakfast on weight loss, an increasing number of studies target the hormonal and behavioral mechanisms underlying weight management. This review provides a comprehensive examination of the intervention-based clinical trials that test whether breakfast consumption improves appetite control and satiety as well as energy expenditure compared with skipping breakfast. Several factors were considered when interpreting the body of evidence. These include, but were not limited to, the following: the composition of breakfast, with a specific focus on dietary protein; meal size and form; and habitual breakfast behaviors. The evidence within this review shows positive to neutral support for the inclusion of breakfast for improvements in appetite control, satiety, and postprandial energy expenditure. The protein content, energy content, and form of the meal (i.e., beverages compared with foods) are key modulating factors for ingestive behavior and energy expenditure mechanisms. Specifically, breakfast meals containing a larger amount of protein (≥30 g protein/meal) and energy (≥350 kcal/meal) and provided as solid foods increased the magnitude of the appetite and satiety response compared with breakfast skipping. Longer-term randomized controlled trials including the measurement of ingestive behavior and weight management are needed to identify the role of breakfast for health promotion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite Regulation / physiology
  • Body Weight Maintenance / physiology*
  • Breakfast / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period
  • Satiation / physiology