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Skip Breakfast? Research Shows That it Can Literally Kill You

By on July 26, 2013
For years physicians have said eating breakfast is the key to a faster metabolism–but a new study in the journal Circulation says the benefits aren’t just great for weight loss.

Researchers, who studied the eating habits of men for a period of 16 years, found that those who skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to have heart problems.

“The take-home message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour,” says Dr. Leah Cahill, one of the study’s researchers. “The results show that something is better than nothing, but it’s always better to have something healthy and balanced.”

While researchers aren’t saying that skipping breakfast has a direct impact on heart health, they claim that avoiding an early meal can trigger cravings for more sugary snacks throughout the day. That, in turn, equals more calories and weight gain–and an increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

Both conditions are correlated with heart disease.

“What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet,” says Victoria Taylor, a British Heart Foundation dietitian. “Wholegrain toast, or cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day.”

Details of the Breakfast Study

Researchers say eating breakfast could affect your heart, but how? The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, investigated how men’s eating habits could affect certain risk factors. A total of 27,000 men men between the ages of 45 and 82 were recruited for the study.

After following the dietary habits of the participants for a total of 16 years, researchers noted a disturbing trend–more than 1,500 men died during the study from a fatal heart attack or failure.

They decided to find out if there was a link, and they did: Those who skipped breakfast faced a 27 percent higher risk of heart problems, which could eventually lead to a fatal cardiac event.

“We’ve focused so much on the quality of food and what kind of diet everyone should be eating, and we don’t talk as often on the manner of eating,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “This study is not even discussing the type of food. It’s just talking about behavior and lifestyle choice. Part of heart-healthy living is eating breakfast because that prevents you from doing a lot of other unhealthy things.”

But why did they skip breakfast? The reasons are innumerable, according to research, but many men statistically skip it due to two factors: Lack of energy and time. It’s easier to grab a cup of Joe than, say, prepare a meal of eggs and toast.

Unfortunately, this decision may be killing men at a far faster rate.

Readers: Do you make breakfast a priority, or do you opt to skip it? If so, why do you skip it?

Sources:
Skipping Breakfast Could Increase Heart Attack RiskGlobalPost.com
Not Eating Breakfast Could Kill You – BBC.co.uk

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