Brain Scans Sug­gest Disad­van­tages of Skip­ping Break­fast

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Skip­ping break­fast may end up with you eat­ing more and mak­ing less healthy food choices through­out the day, ac­cord­ing to a new study. Eat­ing break­fast, on the other hand, helps peo­ple avoid overeat­ing and crav­ings for high-calo­rie foods. Re­searchers com­pared MRI brain scans of 21 peo­ple. Scans were con­ducted both when the par­tic­i­pants had not eaten any­thing that morn­ing and af­ter they had a 750-calo­rie break­fast. Af­ter all of the scans, the par­tic­i­pants were served lunch. “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,” said a Doc­tor at the MRC Clin­i­cal Science Cen­tre at Lon­don’s Im­pe­rial Col­lege, in a so­ci­ety news re­lease. The study re­vealed that the peo­ple who skipped break­fast had a variation in the pat­tern of ac­tiv­ity in their or­bitofrontal cor­tex, an area of the brain linked to the re­ward value and pleas­ant­ness of food. Specif­i­cally, pic­tures of high-calo­rie foods trig­gered ac­tiv­ity in this area of their brain. The study au­thors noted, how­ever, that if the par­tic­i­pant ate break­fast, this re­sponse was not as strong. The re­searchers con­cluded that fast­ing is not a good di­et­ing strat­egy be­cause it may cause the brain to seek out high-calo­rie foods. Be­cause this study was pre­sented at a med­i­cal meet­ing, the data and con­clu­sions should be viewed as pre­lim­i­nary un­til pub­lished in a peer-re­viewed jour­nal.

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