Top How Tos

» Skipping Breakfast Increases Risk of Heart Disease

How Did I Do It? > Food & Drink > Skipping Breakfast Increases Risk of Heart Disease
» Sponsors

While it’s not uncommon for kids to ignore what their mothers have to say, the majority of people have probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A cynic may think this common adage a marketing tool for cereal makers and egg producers, but breakfast plays a more important role in how the body functions during the rest of the day than you may think.

A hearty breakfast provides the body with the energy required so you don’t feel sluggish or tired after getting out of bed. A balanced breakfast will also keep you feeling fuller for longer in the day, so you don’t need to snack throughout the late morning and early afternoon before lunch. This helps to reduce your daily calorie intake, and can make a noticeable difference in your overall weight over several months.

Now a new study suggests that men have another reason to eat breakfast other than staying energized and full. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health have found that men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack when compared to men who eat breakfast.

The results of this study, which were published in the journal Circulation, reaffirms earlier findings that have linked an individual’s eating habits with an increase risk of heart disease.

The Health Risks of Skipping Breakfast

According to researchers, men who don’t eat breakfast have a higher risk of gaining weight, becoming diabetic, suffering from hypertension, or having high cholesterol.

Data from earlier studies had already determined that men who skipped breakfast were 15 percent more likely to gain a substantial amount of weight and had a 21 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.

This latest study found that men in this category also engaged more frequently in other poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and infrequent exercise.

Unlike earlier studies that focused on what people should eat, this study focused solely on lifestyle habits, and how eating breakfast helps to contribute to other positive choices a person can make throughout the day.

As part of the study, researchers examined data from a 16-year study of almost 27,000 male health professionals that tracked both the participants eating habits and overall health between the years 1992 and 2008. Over the course of the study, 1,572 participants developed heart disease.

Researchers also discovered that men who regularly engaged in late night snacking had a 55 percent higher risk of suffering from heart disease when compared to men who did not.

The Importance of Breakfast

When trying to determine why skipping breakfast has such a dramatic effect on heart health, researchers hypothesized several explanations.

The men participating in the Harvard study tended to eat only two meals a day, instead of the three most nutritionist recommend. This meant they were more likely to eat bigger, higher calorie meals when they did eat. Previous studies have found that eating larger, high calorie meals can increase an individual’s risk of suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol when compared to those who eat smaller meals throughout the day. Large meals also place more of strain on the body, as it attempts to digest the calories consumed during such a “feast.”

Researchers also concluded that since breakfast tends to be one of the healthier meals of the day, full of valuable fruits, fibers, and minerals, skipping breakfast causes men to lose these valuable types of nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. Meals eaten later in the day tend to contain higher calorie items that don’t offer the same nutritional value as typical breakfast items such as eggs, oatmeal, fortified cereals, and lean protein.

While the study did not examine the eating habits of women, researchers suspect that a detailed study of the data would show that women suffer the same risks when failing to eat breakfast daily.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Russell Teasdale, a Portland dentist.


There are no comments just yet

Leave a Comment

Add your picture!
Join Gravatar and upload your avatar. C'mon, it's free!