If you’ve been trading breakfast for the chance to hit the snooze button in the morning, you may be putting your heart in danger. A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, looked at the health history of nearly 27,000 men between the ages of 45 and 82 over the period of 16 years and found that those who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Leah Cahill, the study author and research fellow at the Harvard School of School of Public Health explained to Forbes, “As we sleep all night we are fasting, and so if we regularly do not ‘break fast’ in the morning, it puts a strain on our bodies that over time can lead to insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia and blood pressure problems, which can then lead to heart disease.”
“Overall, this study is a large, well-executed analysis that reinforces what our mothers have taught us since we were little kids – ‘Eat your breakfast!’” said Dr. Michael Chen, cardiologist at Washington Adventist and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers.
Dr. Chen explains that since this was an observational study, and not a randomized controlled trial, there is always the possibility that factors that were not adjusted for in the authors’ analysis may also be contributing to the apparent decrease in heart attacks among those subjects who ate breakfast. For instance, those who ate breakfast may simply have followed healthier lifestyles and thus had lower heart attack rates due to their overall lifestyle, rather than specifically to the effects of breakfast.
“Regardless though, the take home message of this study certainly is to eat your breakfast, and with that, follow a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Chen. “I emphasize to all my patients to eat healthy, watch portion size, maintain ideal body weight and exercise 30 minutes five times per week.”
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