Breakfast Really Is the Most Important Meal of the Day
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and new research validates this common folk wisdom. According to the results of a long-term study, men who reported skipping breakfast were significantly more likely to have a heart attack, or even die from coronary heart disease, than men who took time for the morning meal. Eating a meal late at night was also linked to an increased risk of heart disease and death.
Researchers speculate that skipping breakfast, or eating late at night, may lead to metabolic effects that adversely impact cardiovascular health. Surprisingly, men who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have a heart attack or to die from coronary heart disease. Eating after going to bed (a relatively rare behavior in the study) was linked to a more than double risk of heart attack or death.
“This new data...suggests overall dietary habits can be important to lower risk of coronary heart disease," said senior author, Eric Rimm. “Don’t skip breakfast,” added a colleague. According to a national survey of dietary habits, up to 18% of American adults skip the first meal of the day. In contrast, up to 86% of adults report snacking during the day. Various studies have concluded that people who skip meals are more likely to be overweight, and to suffer from conditions affecting cardiovascular health, such as high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, and diabetes.
L. E. Cahill, S. E. Chiuve, R. A. Mekary, M. K. Jensen, A. J. Flint, F. B. Hu, E. B. Rimm. Prospective Study of Breakfast Eating and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Male US Health Professionals. Circulation, 2013; 128 (4): 337 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001474