Your parents were right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. And not just because it helps you focus, gives you energy or boosts your blood sugar. Surprisingly, eating breakfast may help to ward off heart disease… and do all those other things, too.
A new study published through the American Heart Association looked at other breakfast-related clinical trials conducted in English. Surprisingly, researchers found that those who skipped breakfast regularly had a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or heart disease compared to their cereal-eating counterparts. For instance, one trial in particular looked at over 26,000 men and found that those who skipped breakfast had a 27 per cent higher chance of developing heart disease.
That makes us feel pretty guilty about skipping breakfast this morning.
“Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock,” Marie-Pierre St-Onge, lead author of the study, explained. “Planning ahead and making healthy, carry-on foods is important. This could be a homemade smoothie or whole grain muffin or cereal bar for breakfast; packing a sandwich or leftovers for those times when time is tight.”
In the study, breakfast was considered to be the meal eaten within two hours of waking, before any daily activities have begun. So no, your avocado toast at brunch doesn’t count — unless, of course, you woke up at 10 o’clock that morning.
But we can’t just eat a bowl of sugar-filled cereal every morning and expect our bodies to feel extra strong. Instead, we need to eat mindfully at breakfast time.
“There is also an association between ‘occasional fasting’ — every other day or 1-2 times a week — and weight loss, at least in the short term,” said St-Onge. But before you alternate between eating three square meals a day and fasting completely, more research needs to be done.
In the meantime, we’re making sure to properly feed ourselves in the morning. Waffles, anyone?