The team from the University’s Department for Health has been investigating the role of breakfast consumption in weight change and associated health consequences.
A research grant was awarded to Dr James Betts and Dr Dylan Thompson, from the Human Physiology Research Group at the University in 2010. They have already completed the first phases of the study which looked at what happened to people of normal weight when they skipped breakfast.
Now they are looking for overweight volunteers to join the study so the results can be compared.
Dr Betts said: “It is a commonly held belief that eating breakfast is an important part of a healthy diet. This is based largely on scientific research showing that people who do not eat breakfast are more likely to be overweight and have an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, it remains to be established whether there is a direct effect of breakfast on improved health and what the mechanisms for any effect may be.
“Interestingly, research looking at the changes in individuals’ weight over time with breakfast consumption or not show that the relationship may be influenced by an individual’s initial weight, that is to say that not all groups may respond in the same way.”
The researchers are looking for around 30 volunteers to participate in this phase of the study.
Those who are interested in taking part should contact the researchers with their weight and height measurements.
Volunteers will be invited to the laboratory at the University of Bath campus on five separate occasions, which can be scheduled flexibly over a 12-week period. The investigation initially involves two separate tests to compare how each individual responds to having breakfast on one day relative to skipping breakfast on another. Thereafter, all volunteers will be randomly divided into two separate groups, with half asked to eat breakfast every day and the other half asked to skip breakfast every day. Follow-up tests a few weeks later will then reveal whether and how humans adapt in response to regularly including or omitting breakfast from our usual diet.
Each volunteer will benefit from individualised feedback relating to body composition, diet and physical activity patterns. Dr Betts said: “The comprehensive feedback each participant will receive following the study will give a very detailed picture of diet and energy expenditure, highlighting areas for possible change for improvement of health.”
There is no payment for volunteers but expenses are covered and each volunteer will benefit from feedback regarding their individual results. For more information and to discuss eligibility, please contact Enhad Chowdhury on 01225 385744 or email E.Chowdhury@bath.ac.uk
The study is funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council.