Why Skipping Breakfast Is Bad

11/1/2017 5:12:47 PM
written By : Staff Reporter Print

Middle-aged people who skip breakfast are more likely to have clogged heart arteries than those who enjoy a big morning meal.

This was found in a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study suggests people who eat breakfast -- especially a hearty one -- are less likely to harbour plaques in their arteries, says Health Day.

Plaques are deposits of fat, calcium and other substances that can build up in arteries, causing them to harden and narrow -- a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other complications.

The new study does not prove that skipping breakfast directly harms people’s arteries.

“It’s not that you skip breakfast, you get plaques,” said senior researcher Jose Penalvo, of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. 

But skipping breakfast is part of a “cluster” of bad habits that could increase the risk of atherosclerosis, he said. Many people who forgo the morning meal tend to eat out a lot and have nutritionally dubious convenience foods. Skipping breakfast may also have negative effects on appetite-regulating hormones, blood sugar and insulin, he added.

Earlier studies have shown that those who eat a hearty breakfast are less likely to be obese or have diabetes or heart disease.

The new study used objective tests, Penalvo said. The researchers used ultrasound to screen middle-aged people for “sub-clinical” atherosclerosis -- early plaque build-up that is not causing any symptoms.

The study included more than 4,000 people aged 40 to 54 from Spain. Three per cent were chronic breakfast-skippers, while 27 per cent regularly had a big breakfast. That meant they ate more than 20 per cent of their daily calories at their morning meal.

Most people -- 70 per cent -- ate a relatively low-calorie breakfast.

Nearly 75 per cent of the breakfast-skippers showed plaque build-up, compared with 57 per cent of people who ate a big breakfast, and 64 per cent of those who favored a light one.

Some skip breakfast to lose weight. But that’s a bad idea, said dietitian Kim Larson, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

People who skip breakfast generally eat more than others later in the day, she added.

Larson recommended that breakfast include a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat. 

It’s not enough to have a good breakfast, of course. Penalvo said it should be part of a healthy diet and other good habits such as regular exercise.

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