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New study says breakfast may not be the most important meal for weight loss

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By Meghan Holohan, TODAY

(NBC News) - Whether it's a bowl of cereal, eggs, yogurt or a bagel with cream cheese, most Americans believe eating breakfast is the right thing to do, After all, we have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But recent research makes some wonder whether there's evidence to back up this well-worn saying.

The government currently recommends that people eat breakfast and some research suggests that starting off the day with a meal in the belly actually helps with weight loss. But a recent study challenges this notion.

Last year, researchers at Columbia University asked people to be in one of three groups — one group ate oatmeal for breakfast, one ate Frosted Flakes for breakfast, and one skipped breakfast. Overweight people who skipped breakfast were the only group that lost weight.

"The research right now is a little bit uncertain in terms of skipping versus eating breakfast and obesity and body weight," says Andrew Brown from the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

People wondering whether to skip breakfast because they hope to lose weight should remember that there are many reasons people gain weight and breakfast plays just a small part.

"There are many factors that impact weight gain and maybe skipping breakfast or eating breakfast is one of them, but it's not the only one," says Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News Health and Nutrition editor.

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