You’ve heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now a new study from two leading cardiology institutes suggests that skipping breakfast could be linked to poor heart health.
Scientists from Mount Sinai Heart in New York and the CNIC, a Madrid-based cardiovascular research institute, examined the association between breakfast and the presence of atherosclerosis – a build up of fatty material inside the arteries.
They found that those who missed the morning meal had a greater extent of the early stages of the disease compared with those who consumed a high-energy breakfast (providing 20% of a person’s daily energy intake).
‘People who regularly skip breakfast likely have an overall unhealthy lifestyle,’ said study author Valentin Fuster and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, where the research has been published. “This study provides evidence that this is one bad habit people can proactively change to reduce their risk for heart disease.”
Researchers examined over 4,000 healthy male and female volunteers who were asked to complete a questionnaire about their diet and their breakfast patterns, based on the the percentage of total daily energy intake consumed at this meal.
The results found that those who ate nothing or very little for breakfast had a greater extent of atherosclerosis. Participants who skipped breakfast also had the greatest waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure and an overall unhealthy lifestyle, although the study authors have noted that this could be down to ‘reverse causation’.
In the case of being overweight or obese, they said the results may be explained by people skipping breakfast to lose weight.
“Adverse effects of skipping breakfast can be seen early in childhood in the form of childhood obesity and although breakfast skippers are generally attempting to lose weight, they often end up eating more and unhealthy foods later in the day,” Prakash Deedwania, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, commented.
“Skipping breakfast can cause hormonal imbalances and alter circadian rhythms. That breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been proven right in light of this evidence.”
Tracy Parker, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation,said the study highlights the importance of not only what we eat, but when we eat it.
“Worryingly as many as one in five adults in the UK don’t eat breakfast every day,” Parker told Prima. “Studies like this should serve as good food for thought for those wanting to skip breakfast, and inspire us all to eat a healthy meal to kick-start our day and maintain a healthy heart.”
Make sure you start your day the best way with these tasty and healthy collection of breakfast recipes.