(CNN)If you're trying to lose weight you've probably been told not to skip breakfast, as it could make you hungrier later in the day.
Eating breakfast may not help you lose weight, study says
But a new analysis found that people who ate breakfast regularly consumed more calories each day and those who skipped it didn't have an increased appetite later in the day.
This meant those who ate breakfast experienced no weight loss and people who skipped their morning meal also saw no weight gain, according to the research published Wednesday in the BMJ.
Public health agencies and official eating guidelines have long stressed the importance of eating breakfast to lose weight and achieve a healthy diet but "this study clearly shows that isn't a good idea," said lead author Dr Flavia Cicuttini, professor of epidemiology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Cicuttini's team pooled results from 13 clinical trials from high-income countries, mainly the United States and the UK, from the last 28 years.
The studies included people who regularly eat breakfast and non-breakfast eaters. Five trials included overweight participants, the remaining had people with any range of body weight. Some trials looked at how breakfast effected on daily energy intake and others examined the relationship between eating in the morning and changes in body weight.
The researchers found that "the people who eat breakfast tend to have on average 260 calories a day extra and they tend to be heavier," Cicuttini said, regardless of the participants being used to having regularly breakfast or not.
People that skipped breakfast were on average 0.44 kg [0.97 pounds] lighter, according to the paper.
The results suggest that eating breakfast contributes to weight gain "simply by more calorie intake," according to Cicuttini. The clinical trials show that if people are encouraged to eat breakfast, they still eat more calories than they should later in the day, she said.
However, she added the latest findings should be interpreted with caution because some of the 13 trials used in their study didn't last long and the quality of the trials varied.
"I think the key to weight loss is the number of calories you eat," said Cicuttini. People who always eat breakfast shouldn't be discouraged from doing so, she said. But, overweight people who eat breakfast should be encouraged to count the calories they consume during the morning and see how they fit in with the rest of their meals throughout the day.
The Association of UK Dietitians recommends that 20-25% of people's daily nutritional requirements should come from their breakfast.