When it comes to meals, none are as hotly debated as the importance of breakfast. Intermittent fasters typically avoid eating upon waking, while others with the goal of weight loss tend to find getting rid of it the easiest way to cut calories. Others suggest that avoiding breakfast can mess with your overall appetite, promote weight gain, and increase the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Now, new research is showing that passing on breakfast can kill you.
Echoing past research, a brand new study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that compared to people who eat breakfast, people who don’t have an 87 percent greater chance of dying from a heart-related cause. Furthermore, non-breakfast eaters are 18 percent more likely to die from any cause than those electing to start their day with a morning meal.
There are a few ways skipping a meal can impact heart health. First, research indicates that those who aim to save calories in the morning tend to overeat later in the day. This is likely due to the fact that hunger hormones react to morning feedings in a way that regulates appetite throughout the day.
There is also some evidence that overnight fasts extending too long can impair insulin sensitivity. This can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of type-2 diabetes, both conditions closely linked to heart problems. Links also exist between late eating and worsening cholesterol.
So should you start eating breakfast to protect your heart? I’d say it depends. What you eat, more than when, is likely far more important to protect your heart. If you’re making poor food choices in the morning, there is probably little benefit.
To do the most for your heart—which includes maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol profile—you’ll want to focus on nutritious foods for breakfast and throughout the day.
Research has indicated 20-30 grams of lean protein can help regulate appetite and make cravings for sugary foods less likely. The same goes for a heart-healthy fiber that can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
Oats, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (from nuts or avocado) can also help get your day started on a healthy note. Once that meal is down the hatch, keep it up with the consumption of lean proteins, fruit, veggies, whole grains, and nuts at and in between meals.