Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least that's what you've been told. Eat a healthy breakfast, the experts say, and you'll boost your metabolism, be less likely to snack throughout the day and be much more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

Skip breakfast, and you'll likely find yourself starving and snacking on unhealthy food within an hour or so–and you'll be more likely to gain weight. At least that's what everyone–even the U.S. surgeon general–has been saying.

Not so fast.

A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that skipping breakfast has no impact on weight gain.

The study, conducted by Vanderbilt University, followed 52 overweight adult women. Some ate breakfast, some didn't. What it found was that neither group was significantly impacted by their breakfast-eating practices. Contrary to what everyone believed previously, the people who lost weight were not the people who ate breakfast every morning. In fact, the people who lost weight over the course of the study were the people who made the biggest changes in their overall eating habits–whether that meant eating breakfast, not eating breakfast or eating fewer calories throughout the day.

In addition, researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham also compared their data to those of other studies on the importance of breakfast. What they found was that the other studies used faulty measurements to determine that breakfast was important to weight loss. In other words, the studies were not academic–they were based more on anecdotal evidence.

So what's the lesson from these studies? The answer comes down to common sense.

Losing weight requires changing your eating habits. It takes discipline. It takes hard work. And it takes dedication.

The simple equation is eat a healthy diet, regardless of when you eat. Exercise regularly. And, most importantly, consume fewer calories each day than you burn. That's the key to losing weight and living healthy.

So if you need to skip breakfast because you're hurried, busy or just not feeling like eating, go ahead and skip it.