Follow by Email

Jul 9, 2011

Eat Your Breakfast!

The old saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” may be more of an understatement than we realize. Those of us who eat breakfast on a regular basis are likely doing ourselves a huge favor when it comes to heart health. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) revealed that people who regularly eat breakfast may reduce risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. Over 2,000 participants ages 9 to 15 years old were asked questions about diet, physical activity, and whether or not they ate breakfast prior to school. After twenty years, a third of the original participants followed up in the study by filling out meal frequency questionnaires, having waist sizes measured, and getting blood tests (triglycerides, total and LDL or “bad” cholest erol, fasting insulin). Participants were placed into four categories:
  • skipped breakfast in neither childhood nor adulthood, 
  • skipped breakfast only in childhood,
  • skipped breakfast only in adulthood, or
  • skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood.  
Those participants who skipped breakfast in both childhood and adulthood were found to have larger waist sizes as well as total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in comparison with those who ate breakfast in both childhood and adulthood. Other risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, including higher fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, were also noted in former group.   

Breakfast skippers were also noted to more often be single, have a lower education level, and have unhealthy lifestyle behaviors that included being less physically active and more likely to smoke, watch TV, and have a less healthy diet compared with breakfast eaters.  

We now know that eating breakfast every morning, particularly nutritious meals of course, helps to sustain energy levels throughout the day. When people have more energy, they are more likely to make efforts to be physically active during the day and less likely to reach for junk foods and high-sugar containing foods that negatively impact blood sugar and insulin levels. We naturally make better choices throughout the day when our blood sugar levels are not peaking and crashing as a result of skipping breakfast, a most important meal of the day.

Dr. Shana McQueen