"For reasons that we don't quite understand yet, eating breakfast seems to be a marker of, No. 1, less likelihood of having gained weight recently, and, No. 2, ... a smaller belly circumference and less visceral fat," Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says.
Dr. Somers helped oversee a study that showed people who ate breakfast daily gained less weight than those who didn't eat breakfast.
"Those who ate breakfast very frequently put on less than 3 pounds in the past year," Dr. Somers says. "Those who ate breakfast maybe one to four times a week put on about 5 pounds. The ones who didn't eat breakfast at all put on about 8 pounds in the year prior to them seeing us."
But Dr. Naima Covassin, who led the study, says the correlation between breakfast and less belly fat is even more important to your health. Dr. Covassin is a researcher in Mayo Clinic's Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory.
"That is the dangerous fat, the fat that is really bad for your health because it's more consistently associated with hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. And that's the fat that we don't want to have," Dr. Covassin says.
Both doctors warn this isn't necessarily about eating more or fewer calories. It's more likely about eating the same number of calories but earlier in the day.
So, to lose pounds and belly fat, remember an old saying, "It's eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar," Dr. Somer says.