Skipping breakfast may be hazardous for heart health

Ever wondered why breakfast is touted as the most important meal of the day? The morning meal not only rejuvenates the body and gives a jump start to metabolism but it is also heart healthy, claims a new study.

According to medics. men who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who ate their morning meal.

Study leader Dr Leah Cahill, a Canadian postdoctoral research fellow in nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston stated, “There is potential that the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day may hold true because we also examined other meals, such as lunch and dinner and snacking times, and breakfast was the only meal that we saw an association.”

A 16-year-old study
The focus of the study was to establish whether omitting breakfast increases the risk of heart disease.Investigators tracked the health of nearly 27,000 men for a period of 16 years.

The subjects aged 45 to 80 years were all educated health professionals, like dentists and veterinarians. For the purpose of the study, the men were questioned every two years about their health and eating habits.

About 13 percent reportedly skipped breakfast on a regular basis. It was noted that these men were younger, generally single, more inclined to smoke, drink and to be less physically active.

Outcome of the study
During the study period 1,527 cases of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks were documented. These included 171 events in men who regularly skipped breakfast. It was observed that seven percent of the men who skipped breakfast had heart problems compared to six percent that ate the morning meal.

After accounting for other risk factors such as body weight, medical history and overall diet quality, the scientists calculated the risk of cardiovascular problems at 27 for men who avoided the morning meal.

“The timing of the meal may be directly responsible for the metabolic effects that may lead to CHD, or alternatively, eating habits may be a proxy for specific foods more likely to be consumed at breakfast or late at night such as breakfast cereals high in dietary fiber and fortified micronutrients like folate or late-night snack foods high in calories,” the researchers wrote.

The findings are reported in the American Heart Disease journal Circulation.

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