Whether or not breakfast is good for weight loss is an ongoing debate. However, a new study has found that eating breakfast appears to be linked to heart health. A study with a duration of over 20 years found that people who skipped breakfast were 87 percent more likely to die of heart problems.
Fifty-nine percent of the 6,550 people who took part in the study, which initially ran from 1988 to 1994, said they ate breakfast daily. The people had no prior heart-related problems. Looking at follow-up data in 2011, 619 of those participants had died of heart-related problems. The majority of the deceased were people who skipped breakfast.
While the data is limited, it does point to breakfast being important to health. The researchers adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic and other factors to ensure their numbers were correct within the sample they had. They noted that missing breakfast was linked to appetite changes, finding meals to be less satiating and elevated blood pressure.
“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,” said Dr. Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Univ. of Iowa in Iowa City, the senior author of the study.
As of a study in 2011, only 31 percent of Americans eat breakfast daily. If the findings from the study published in this month’s Journal of the American College of Cardiology are correct, that might be cause for concern. Eating early in the day can help with blood pressure and may cascade into better health throughout the day.
The study didn’t look at what people ate for breakfast. It may be that it is a case of correlation instead of causation. However, hearing that not eating breakfast is, in any way, connected to an 87 percent heightened risk of dying from heart disease-related causes is enough to give you pause. Perhaps, if you aren’t a regular breakfast-eater — and adding a healthy meal into your morning isn’t a strain — it might be something to consider.