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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):388-96.

Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women.

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  • 1Centre for Integrated Systems Biology and Medicine, Institute of Clinical Research & School of Biomedical Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.



Breakfast consumption is recommended, despite inconclusive evidence of health benefits.


The study's aim was to ascertain whether eating breakfast (EB) or omitting breakfast (OB) affects energy intake, energy expenditure, and circulating insulin, glucose, and lipid concentrations in healthy women.


In a randomized crossover trial, 10 women [x+/-SD body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2): 23.2+/-1.4] underwent two 14-d EB or OB interventions separated by a 2-wk interval. In the EB period, subjects consumed breakfast cereal with 2%-fat milk before 0800 and a chocolate-covered cookie between 1030 and 1100. In the OB period, subjects consumed the cookie between 1030 and 1100 and the cereal and milk between 1200 and 1330. Subjects then consumed 4 additional meals with content similar to usual at predetermined times later in the day and recorded food intake on 3 d during each period. Fasting and posttest meal glucose, lipid, and insulin concentrations and resting energy expenditure were measured before and after each period.


Reported energy intake was significantly lower in the EB period (P=0.001), and resting energy expenditure did not differ significantly between the 2 periods. OB was associated with significantly higher fasting total and LDL cholesterol than was EB (3.14 and 3.43 mmol/L and 1.55 and 1.82 mmol/L, respectively; P=0.001). The area under the curve of insulin response to the test meal was significantly lower after EB than after OB (P<0.01).


OB impairs fasting lipids and postprandial insulin sensitivity and could lead to weight gain if the observed higher energy intake was sustained.

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