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Many people skip breakfast. Some are simply too busy. Others believe it’s one way to reduce calorie intake for the day, and perhaps lose weight. But, whatever the reason, it’s a bad idea. For some folks—namely those struggling already with diabetes—it can be a terrible practice. Even though breakfast has been called “the most important meal of the day,” it doesn’t always get the respect it deserves in modern society. Some scientists believe the tendency to skip breakfast is associated with the growing obesity epidemic, and that it may encourage cardiovascular disease. Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women in America.
Part of the problem evidently has to do with cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone released in response to rising blood sugar levels. It helps the body’s cells usher in these sugar molecules—removing them from the bloodstream, and allowing the cells to burn the sugar molecules for energy. Blood sugar is typically low in the morning, upon waking, and breakfast supplies a renewed source of sugar for fuel.
When you skip breakfast, the body does not experience this familiar pattern of events. Eventually, say researchers, the islet cells of the pancreas may “forget” how to produce and release insulin as needed. Paradoxically, among diabetic people, skipping breakfast actually causes dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels later.
"We theorized that the omission of breakfast would not be healthy, but it was surprising to see such a high degree of deterioration of glucose metabolism only because the participants did not eat breakfast," said Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz, of American Friends of Tel Aviv University.
Participants experienced exceptionally high glucose peaks after lunch and dinner on days they skipped breakfast, compared to more modest spikes after these meals, when they had eaten breakfast. "This means that reducing the amount of starch and sugars in lunch and dinner will have no effect on reducing elevated glucose levels if diabetic individuals also skip breakfast," said Prof. Jakubowicz.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Diabetics who skip breakfast provoke hazardous blood sugar spikes: Type-2 diabetics who 'fast' until noon risk day-long consequences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2015. .