The reason people who eat breakfast tend to be healthier and slimmer could be because their brains are less likely to crave fatty food, according to a new study.
The research looked at the brain activity of 21 volunteers on two different days – one when they had eaten breakfast and one when they hadn’t. The results showed that calorific foods were more appealing to the brain when a person hadn’t eaten breakfast, and that made them more likely to indulge more at lunch and during the day.
[Related: Five healthier breakfasts]
The people were all of normal weight. On the first day they were given no breakfast before their MRI scan at Imperial College London. On the second day, they received a big breakfast (730 calories) an hour and a half before. They were then shown pictures of high calorie foods and their brain activity was measured. The scans showed that skipping breakfast created a ‘bias’ towards high calorie foods , which backs up the healthy eating mantra we should all eat breakfast every day.
The study also found that when participants were not fed in the morning, they ate a fifth more calories on average at lunch.
Dr Tony Goldstone, from Imperial College London, said: "Through both the participants' MRI results and observations of how much they ate at lunch, we found ample evidence that fasting made people hungrier, and increased the appeal of high calorie foods and the amount people ate.
"One reason it is so difficult to lose weight is because the appeal of high calorie food goes up."
More evidence, if it were needed, that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – and it’s not just your stomach that thinks so, it’s your brain too! Why not set the alarm a little earlier tomorrow?