By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
A new Harvard study has suggested, for the first time, that skipping breakfast may not be good for your heart. The results from examining 16 years of the self-reported eating habits of twenty-seven thousand male health professionals (age 45-82) indicated that those who regularly ate breakfast had a modest, but still significant, reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease. This, and other reports, link missed breakfasts with snacking, weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
In the study, breakfast skippers were more likely to be younger, smokers, work full-time, unmarried, less physically active, drink more alcohol, and routinely eat late at night. The researchers called for more investigation into this connection, and to include women.
Access study here.
My Viewpoint: Interestingly, breakfast is popularly thought of as the most important meal of the day, but “official” dietary guidelines for Americans recommend breakfast for kids only. Adults aren’t mentioned at all. Surveys indicate that skipping breakfast is fairly common, a habit practiced routinely by up to one-quarter of adults, according to one report. In this study, the researchers crunched numbers on a large population of health professionals and came to the conclusion that skipping breakfast alone may make you more prone to heart disease, even if you pursue other less-than-ideal lifestyle habits. The reason for this is likely that breakfast is a good opportunity to provide the body with servings of healthy fruit, fiber, and protein.
What This Means To You: A reminder not to skip breakfast, if not for the sake of getting the body’s engine stoked for a day’s activity, but for the heart as well.
Recommendation: Take the time to get your day off to a good nutritional start. Check out my breakfast video series for some healthy breakfast options.
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