The only way to lose weight is to start the day with a healthy breakfast, right? That's the notion that health experts have shared with us for years. But it may not be totally accurate.

According to a new study, skipping breakfast may not be so bad for your diet after all. Though earlier studies have found correlations between eating breakfast and weight loss success, few studies have really put this theory to the test in randomized clinical trials. Previous studies have simply asked patients to report on their eating habits and then compared this info with their health records.

“Previous studies have mostly demonstrated correlation, but not necessarily causation,” said study author Emily Dhurandhar, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at University of Alabama Birmingham. “In contrast, we used a large, randomized controlled trial to examine whether or not breakfast recommendations have a causative effect on weight loss, with weight change as our primary outcome.”

In the new study, 300 overweight and obese participants followed diets that included either eating or skipping breakfast. At the end of 16 weeks, researchers compared the health data from the two groups and found that the dieters who ate breakfast lost no more weight than people who skipped breakfast.

The authors did note however, that while skipping breakfast may not affect weight loss, it may affect other aspects of one's health that should be considered. The prolonged fasting that occurs when dieters skip breakfast leads to increases in diastolic and systolic blood pressure, blood concentrations of insulin, triglycerides, free fatty acids and LDL-cholesterol, and to decreases in blood concentrations of HDL-cholesterol.

So while passing on breakfast may not hinder your weight loss success, it may still not b great for your overall health. But if you are one of those folks who simply can't even think about choking down food first thing in the morning, it's also good news to know that skipping breakfast really won't affect your ability to stick to a healthy diet.

How important is breakfast to healthy weight loss?
Study serves up new advice about breakfast and its importance in losing weight.