Breakfast Skipping, Body Composition, and Cardiometabolic Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Jun;28(6):1098-1109. doi: 10.1002/oby.22791. Epub 2020 Apr 18.


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of skipping breakfast on body composition and cardiometabolic risk factors.

Methods: This study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating breakfast skipping compared with breakfast consumption. Inclusion criteria included age ≥ 18, intervention duration ≥ 4 weeks, ≥ 7 participants per group, and ≥ 1 body composition measure. Random-effects meta-analyses of the effect of breakfast skipping on body composition and cardiometabolic risk factors were performed.

Results: Seven RCTs (n = 425 participants) with an average duration of 8.6 weeks were included. Compared with breakfast consumption, breakfast skipping significantly reduced body weight (weighted mean difference [WMD] = -0.54 kg [95% CI: -1.05 to -0.03], P = 0.04, I2 = 21.4%). Percent body fat was reported in 5 studies and was not significantly different between breakfast skippers and consumers. Three studies reported on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), which was increased in breakfast skippers as compared with breakfast consumers (WMD = 9.24 mg/dL [95% CI: 2.18 to 16.30], P = 0.01). Breakfast skipping did not lead to significant differences in blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, insulin, fasting glucose, leptin, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, or ghrelin.

Conclusions: Breakfast skipping may have a modest impact on weight loss and may increase LDL in the short term. Further studies are needed to provide additional insight into the effects of breakfast skipping.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Breakfast / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult