Skipping breakfast may have more negative impacts than previous research suggested

By • Published: November 1st, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

For some people, starting the day with a hearty breakfast is merely a dream. With the stress of rushing off to work and school, this important meal is often sacrificed for a few extra minutes in the morning. Even those who do eat breakfast usually grab something light, such as protein bars or shakes. But these bad habits can have serious health consequences.

Researchers in Spain and New York say those who routinely skip breakfast are more likely to develop plaque buildup in their arteries. Of the 4,000 participants they studied, 3 percent said they bypass breakfast, 69 percent said they have something light and only 28 percent said they ate hearty foods. Those who skipped breakfast were 30 percent more likely to develop atherosclerosis, while the light breakfast crowd were around 20 percent more likely to develop plaque buildup.

How could skipping a meal lead to such results? The researchers theorized it is a marker of an overall pattern of unhealthy food choices and a stressful lifestyle. They pointed out those who were most likely to skip out on hearty breakfasts were smokers and men, as well as those who consumed more red meat and alcohol.

Some people who are overweight might skip breakfast thinking this will help them lose weight, but researchers said this is a flawed strategy. Consuming more fuel earlier in the day favors cardiovascular and overall health, they noted. While suggesting more study is needed, they said it’s prudent to educate the public about implementing simple lifestyle changes, such as eating a regular, nutritious breakfast, to head off what they called “the oncoming tsunami of diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.”