Posted on Apr 23, 2019, 4 p.m.
Risk of dying early from CVD may be linked to whether or not you eat breakfast, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Skipping breakfast was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular related death, especially stroke related death; after factors such as age, sex, race, socioeconomic statue, diet, lifestyle, BMI, and disease status were accounted for those who never had breakfast were found to be at 87% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to those who enjoy breakfast daily says Dr. Wei Bao of the University of Iowa.
"Breakfast is traditionally believed as the most or at least one of the most important meals of the day, but there are not much data available to say 'yes' or 'no' to this belief. Our paper is among the ones that provide evidence to support long-term benefits.There are a few cardiovascular risk factors -- for example diabetes, hypertension and lipid disorders," says Bao "Our findings are in line with and supported by previous studies that consistently showed that skipping breakfast is related to those strong risk factors for cardiovascular death."
According to W.H.O around the globe cardiovascular disease, namely stroke and heart disease, is the leading cause of death accounting for 15.2 million deaths combined during 2016; within the USA heart disease is the leading cause of death.
Data from 6,550 adults between the age of 40-75 who reported how often they ate breakfast in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 was analyzed to look at associations between breakfast and mortality, specifically death related to cardiovascular health; separate data was analyzed to determine their health status. During an average follow up period of 18.8 years 2,318 deaths occurred which includes 619 deaths from CVD.
5.1% reported never eating breakfast; 10.9% rarely ate breakfast; 25% ate breakfast on some days; and 59% ate breakfast every day. Those who never ate breakfast had a higher risk of heart related death and stroke related death than those who did; associations were found to be significant and independent of socioeconomic status, BMI, and CVD risk factors; skipping breakfast was found to be associated with increased risk of obesity, elevated cholesterol or fats on blood, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective analysis of skipping breakfast and risk of cardiovascular mortality," according to the researchers. The study was limited in that it did not include information about what types of food and beverages were consumed, and whether breakfast consumption patterns changed between 1994 and when the follow up mortality data was gathered.
The study only found an association between risk of early death and skipping breakfast, not that the act of skipping breakfast specifically caused any such outcomes; additional research is needed to determine whether missing breakfast shortens life expectancy and as to why there is an association.
Another study published in the journal Circulation found breakfast was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men.
The new study "was fairly well done," said Krista Varady of the University of Illinois, Chicago, who was not involved in the research. "However, the major issue is that the subjects who regularly skipped breakfast also had the most unhealthy lifestyle habits," she said. "Specifically, these people were former smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, and also had poor diet quality and low family income. All of those factors put people at a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease. I realize that the study attempted to control for these confounders, but I think it's hard to tease apart breakfast skipping from their unhealthy lifestyle in general."
Meals skipped during intermittent fasting and the breakfast skipped in this study are not the same, these are two different concepts and practices: intermittent fasting involves cycling between long periods of not eating and regular eating to restrict caloric intake which is suggested to reduce risk of obesity and related disease.
Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California warns, “Be careful when trying to connect the study's findings to intermittent fasting. There are very good ways to do intermittent fasting and potentially very bad ways to do intermittent fasting. But certainly, that's an interesting thing to keep in mind, that A: Maybe it's better to stick with 12 hours or 13 hours of fasting and that's it. Or B: If you need to do 16 hours, try to consider skipping dinner and not breakfast or lunch."
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