Skipping Breakfast May Be Bad for Heart

There are a lot of reasons why someone might skip breakfast. You might be a late riser who doesn’t like wasting time they could be snoozing on food. Maybe you’re someone who exercises and then heads right into the day. Perhaps you aren’t hungry in the morning, or your dieting, or you don’t like breakfast food. Lots of people skip breakfast. But, research shows you should eat something to get your day started.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” was first written in a magazine published by Dr. John Kellogg — the man who invented corn flakes — in 1917. New research shows that it might not be just a marketing slogan. Forgoing breakfast may increase your risk of death from heart disease by 87 percent. Scientists looked at information from 7,205 people aged 40-75 who did not have a heart problem at the start of the study. They walked the participants for over 10 years. People who didn’t eat breakfast were 87 percent more likely to die from a heart-related cause. It is essential to point out that this is a correlation rather than causation. With the level of information the study presents, it’s impossible to know if it’s eating or some other habit people who don’t eat breakfast share. And, we have no idea what the breakfaster-eaters ate.

However, the researchers did try to rule out as many other contributing factors as possible. “Non-breakfast eaters had 87 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Univ. of Iowa’s College of Public Health, and lead author of the study. “This estimate has already accounted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, dietary and lifestyle factors, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors.”

Eating in the morning can help glucose levels remain constant, boost cognition and suppress appetite throughout the day. A different study found that people who ate less than five percent of their daily calories in the morning were two and a half times more likely to have plaque building up in their arteries. The researchers said that breakfast can stop you from overeating through the day, which could lead to weight gain. All of these things might contribute. The scientists also found that the breakfast-skippers in their study were more likely to smoke, eat sugar and avoid exercise.

Dr. Bao claims the current study is clear, “The finding itself is very straightforward: people who skip breakfast regularly had increased risk for cardiovascular mortality and total mortality.”

But, we still think it’s unclear as that might be just one part of the puzzle. Eating breakfast may be good for the heart, or it might be that people with heart-healthy lifestyles eat breakfast. Should you wish to start eating breakfast for the sake of your heart, be sure to not increase your healthy daily caloric intake. And eat whole fruit, healthy proteins and whole grains. A bowl of Captain Crunch isn’t going to help you protect your heart.
March 16, 2020

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