Skipping Breakfast Could Literally Kill You

By Ted

skipping-breakfast-heart-attack

Skipping breakfast or eating breakfast has long been debated when it comes to weight loss. Some diets preach the importance of eating breakfast to rev up the metabolism, while others urge fasting until lunch time.

In fact, several newer diets have even urged dieters to skip or delay breakfast until after working out. Both The OMG Diet and The 8 Hour Diet recommend this approach.

It turns out the eating breakfast camp just got a huge boost to its eating breakfast is best claim.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who skip breakfast have a 27% greater risk of having a heart attack.

The Study Basics

This study followed 26,902 male health professionals for 16 years and asked them questions about their dietary habits and then examined their medical histories. It’s important to note that the study isn’t conclusive and there are a few other factors to consider with the data.

  • When other risk factors were factored in such as smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. the skipping breakfast factor wasn’t significant.
  • Men who ate a few times a day, but ate breakfast had a lower risk than those that ate 6 times a day.
  • The breakfast question was only asked once during the 16 year period.
  • Men eating late at night had a 55% greater risk of heart disease, but this subgroup was only 313 compared to the breakfast skipper subgroup of 3,400.
  • Skipping breakfast is but one of the many risk factors of heart disease. 

A Healthy Breakfast is Key

I have long been a proponent of eating breakfast although I usually wait an hour upon raising. BUT, it is also what we are eating for breakfast that counts!

Eating donuts, toaster strudel, or sugary cereal will likely promote heart disease rather than prevent it. Instead, our breakfasts should consist of moderate calories, but be high in nutrition.

Here’s what I typically eat for breakfast:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1/2 cup (uncooked measurement) steel cut oats, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/3 cup wild blueberries, 12 dried tart cherries.

Tuesday, Thursday: Two small breakfast burritos consisting of sautéed mini peppers, kale, and garlic in coconut oil with 2-3 eggs scrambled in, avocado, and hot sauce all wrapped in 2 low-fat, whole wheat tortillas.

Oh yeah… and 2 cups of black coffee to wash it down.

Some people may need a little more variety, but this meal schedule works nicely for me.

I think that overall this study does highlight the importance of adhering to the body’s natural rhythm and making sure that we nourish our bodies with heart healthy foods during that first meal of the day.

What do you think: Do you eat or skip breakfast? 

8 Comments

  1. Michelle

    “When other risk factors were factored in such as smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. the skipping breakfast factor wasn’t significant.”

    In other words, it doesn’t matter. There’s just a correlation between skipping breakfast and unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking. I’m sure there are people who skip breakfast and otherwise live very healthy lives and this study doesn’t show they would have any increased risk.

    That being said, I always eat breakfast, otherwise I’m setting myself up for nighttime binges!

    Reply
  2. Kristen

    I’ve always wondered about the delaying breakfast piece. I find I’m often not hungry for 2-3 hours, so I wait to eat then. Would researchers still consider it breakfast if it’s 3 hours after rising? I’m never quite sure how they measure these things!

    Reply
    • O.

      I once heard that you need to eat within an hour of waking to get the metabolism going. Maybe Ted knows about this?

      Reply
      • Ted

        There are so many theories about when to eat and keeping the metabolism going, but I always default to sticking to a natural rhythm, which could be different for some. By an hour after waking my stomach is screaming for some food, others need to eat as soon as they get up. It’s probably more important WHAT you are eating for breakfast opposed to exactly when. 🙂

        Reply
  3. Spectra

    I wonder if the study also applies to women or if they only studied men. My husband has never been a breakfast person and I actually rarely eat a large breakfast. My idea of breakfast is an egg and some coffee or a small bowl of oatmeal and hot tea. I just don’t get that hungry early on in the day, that’s all.

    Reply
    • Ted

      This particular study only involved men. 🙂

      Reply
  4. O.

    I’ve never understood the concept of skipping breakfast. How could you go on with your day not eating until lunch?

    I am a late sleeper and I also hate eggs so sometimes I won’t eat breakfast food when I get up, but yes I have to eat within an hour of waking or I won’t be feeling very good.

    I have been guilty of eating the least amount of calories at breakfast though, especially when I was working in the mornings. Sometimes all I could grab was a couple of granola bars and a thermos of juice or milk and I would be consuming that while driving to work.

    Reply
    • Heather

      I know it’s trouble to get my daughter to eat anything for many hours after she wakes up – even if she had an early/light dinner the night before! She’s not only not hungry, but actively does not want food until 12-2 pm.

      It’s weird for me because I’m hungry when I wake up unless I had a big or late dinner.

      I also want to eat frequently but not much at a time, and she tends to want a unbelievably big meal and not eat for a long time. Her dad is the same way about breakfast and meals, but since I raise her by myself, I tend to think it’s genetic.

      Reply