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Study ties skipping breakfast to weight gain

Brain scans indicate that skipping breakfast lead the brain to respond more positively to unhealthy diet and seek out higher-calorie foods, new study says.

According to the study, conducted at Imperial College London, people who miss breakfast not only intend to eat more for lunch but they usually consume fatty and sugary foods that put them in a high risk of gaining weight.

To understand what happened inside the brain, the researchers took 21 people, who were all normal weight, under their study tests.

The MRI brain scans showed a region known as orbital frontal cortex, responsible for identifying the food taste particularly when breakfast had been skipped.

On one day they were given no breakfast before the scans and on a different day they were fed a large, 730 calorie, breakfast an hour and a half before.

The researchers demonstrate that skipping breakfast created a "bias" in the brain in favour of high calorie foods.

"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 Dr. Tony Goldstone, from Imperial College London.

Presented at the Neuroscience 2012 conference, the result revealed that when breakfast was missed the brain’s "food appeal" was high calorie foods but not low calorie as “the orbitofrontal cortex, became more active on an empty stomach.”

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