“Scientific” assumptions: Researchers determine skipping breakfast may lead to hardening of the arteries

New research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concludes that skipping breakfast can increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis, or narrowing of arteries due to plaque build-up. This is the first time the association between breakfast and atherosclerosis was ever evaluated in a study.

“People who regularly skip breakfast likely have an overall unhealthy lifestyle,” said study author Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., MACC, director of Mount Sinai Heart. “This study provides evidence that this is one bad habit people can proactively change to reduce their risk for heart disease.”

Cardiovascular disease has killed 17.7 million people in 2015 alone. The researchers said their findings could offer an important tool in the fight against the world’s top killer.

This statement was further supported by Jose L. Peñalvo, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and study author: “Aside from the direct association with cardiovascular risk factors, skipping breakfast might serve as a marker for a general unhealthy diet or lifestyle which in turn is associated with the development and progression of atherosclerosis.”

Peñalvo further explained that their research is important for health professionals and may be used to devise public health strategies and giving proper dietary recommendations and guidelines.

“Adverse effects of skipping breakfast can be seen early in childhood in the form of childhood obesity and although breakfast skippers are generally attempting to lose weight, they often end up eating more and unhealthy foods later in the day,” according to Prakash Deedwania, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “That breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been proven right in light of this evidence.”

The most important meal of the day?

The study mentioned above isn’t the only one to claim that skipping breakfast increases our risk of obesity and other related health problems. However, new, higher quality studies called randomized controlled trials suggest that it doesn’t really matter whether you eat or skip breakfast, according to an article in HealthLine.com.

Many studies conclude that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight or obese, and have a low risk of developing chronic diseases, but the article emphasizes that these have been so-called observational studies and have no solid evidence that eating breakfast is the main cause, rather than a combination of healthy lifestyle habits of which eating breakfast is a mere component.

In fact, skipping breakfast has been a main part of intermittent fasting methods, which have been shown to effectively reduce calorie intake, increase weight loss and improve metabolic health. (Related: Breakfast as the most important meal is just a slogan? Experts agree fasting longer and eating less may be a better choice.)

It is important to note, however, that the effects of these methods may vary from individual to individual. In the end, eating healthily throughout the day – whether you eat breakfast or skip it – on top of other healthy lifestyle habits, will give your body the proper care it needs to stay in peak condition.

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