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Skipping breakfast causes weight gain by disrupting biological clock: study

Skipping breakfast causes weight gain because it disturbs the biological clock and the process by which fat is broken down, Japanese researchers have found.

The researchers from Nagoya University say the results of their research indicate that regularly eating breakfast is healthy.

"Eating breakfast regularly resets the biological clock. This could be scientific grounds for saying that breakfast is good for people's health," a member of the team commented.

It was already known that skipping breakfast increased the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. However, the mechanism by which this happened was unclear. The team led by Hiroaki Oda, an associate professor at Nagoya University, split 56 rats into two groups of 28. They fed one group at a time equivalent to morning for humans and the other group four hours later.

After two weeks, the latter group saw an increase of fatty tissue and their weight also increased. The latter group also saw a four-hour delay in the activity of clock genes in their liver cells, which are the center for lipid metabolism, the process by which fat is broken down, and other genes relating to the metabolism of fat. Body temperature normally rises during periods of activity, but rats in the same group did not see an immediate increase during this time, and the periods of high body temperature were shorter.

Oda commented, "We found in the experiment that skipping breakfast results in weight gain because it disturbs the biological clock and less energy is expended."

The results of the research were reported in the U.S. science journal Plos One on Oct. 31.

(Japanese original by Momoko Suda, Science & Environment News Department)

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