Study finds another reason not to skip breakfast

The research shows adults who missed the first meal of the day were more than twice as likely to have blocked arteries
Andrew Crowley

Participants who skipped breakfast were also more likely to have a lifestyle that was unhealthy overall, including a poor diet, frequent alcohol consumption, and smoking.

Known as atherosclerosis, the condition restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs and increases the risk of lethal clots.

Valentin Fuster, editor of the Journal, said: "People who regularly skip breakfast likely have an overall unhealthy lifestyle". A computerized questionnaire was used to estimate the usual diet of the participants, and breakfast patterns were based on the percentage of total daily energy intake consumed at breakfast.

In fact, a recent Bord Bia study found that 13 per cent of Irish adults don't eat breakfast at all.

"Indeed, these studies have proved the age old concept that breakfast is the most important meal of the day", Deedwania said by email. The largest proportion, 70%, ate a low-energy breakfast (between 5% and 20% of daily calorie intake).

This research is part of the Progression and Early Detection of Atherosclerosis Study or PESA, conducted under the supervision of the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III or CNIS in Spain. Those who had low-calorie breakfasts were at increased risk for early signs of plaque in their arteries, as well.

"Between 20 and 30 percent of adults skip breakfast and these trends mirror the increasing prevalence of obesity and associated cardiometabolic abnormalities", Prakash Deedwania, MD, author of an accompanying editorial in JACC, said in the press release. "Many people have the false belief that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, when in fact it can have the reverse outcome", Deedwania says. "It might be that there is something about having regular meals throughout the day that somehow regulates your appetite [and] means you don't over-consume calories - that there is something about eating breakfast per se - [but] I don't think you can answer from this study", he said.

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A new study has found that people who eat less than 5% of their recommended daily calories for breakfast (around 100 calories) have twice the number of atherosclerotic plaques than those who eat a high energy breakfast.

Essentially, it's not just about whether or not you have breakfast - it's about how that sets you up for healthy choices for the rest of the day.

Those who pass on breakfast had the highest BMI, greatest waist circumference, highest blood pressure and highest blood lipid levels.

Another limitation of the study is that some people may have been skipping breakfast because they were obese and were trying to lose weight or improve other risk factors for heart disease that could also contribute to atherosclerosis, the authors note.

He concluded by saying, "Skipping breakfast can cause hormonal imbalances and alter circadian rhythms".

Compared to people who had a hearty breakfast, individuals who had a light breakfast were still 21 percent more likely to have damage in a major artery in the neck and 17 percent more likely to have damage in a major blood vessel in the abdominal area.

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