You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us simply don’t have the time to enjoy a nutritious breakfast. If you look at the word “breakfast,” you can see it is made up of two words, “break” and “fast.” This is because throughout the night as you sleep, you are technically fasting, so breakfast does just that, breaks the fast.
Several studies have shown that those who consume breakfast tend to be skinnier and healthier compared to those who skip out on breakfast. On the other hand, studies have also found that breakfast-skippers tend to have heart problems.
The findings of the latest research suggest that individuals who skip breakfast are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries. But the link between the factors is not as direct as you think. As explained by co-author Valentin Fuster, “People who skip breakfast, not only do they eat late and in an odd fashion, but [they also] have a poor lifestyle.”
The study was part of a larger study that examined how the disease progresses in arteries over time.
It looked at the health and diets of 4,052 middle-aged bank workers with no previous history of cardiovascular disease.
All participants answered detailed questionnaires about what they ate over the last 15 days. Other measures of health were also detailed, including cholesterol, body mass index, smoking status, education level, and level of physical activity.
The researchers found that compared to those who consume at least 20 percent of their daily calories at breakfast, those who skip out on or have a small breakfast are more likely to show signs of atherosclerosis.
Among those who consumed a high-energy breakfast, only 57 percent showed sub-clinical atherosclerosis compared to 75 percent among those who skipped breakfast. The findings still remained even after factoring in other health measures.
The researchers suggest that skipping breakfast harms the body’s internal clock, which results in individuals consuming more calories at unusual times.
Fuster added, “Skipping breakfast in the morning by itself is not the problem; the problem is what you eat afterward.” Fuster also found that those who skipped breakfast were more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, consume alcohol, smoke, and eat high levels of red meat.
Skipping breakfast is not only detrimental for weight management, but it can also contribute to other unhealthy lifestyle factors that can all negatively impact a person’s heart health. Therefore, instead of skip breakfast or opting for an unhealthy breakfast, choose a protein-packed breakfast that supports energy levels and blood sugar levels.