You probably don’t need us to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in terms of exactly how important breakfast is, this is something even the world’s leading researchers are only just discovering. In fact, new health guidelines issued in the United States suggest that skipping breakfast can directly lead to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.
It was also stated that those who eat breakfast on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and cholesterol, while at the same time presenting far lower heart disease risk than those who regularly skip breakfast or never eat breakfast at all.
The warning was issued by the American Heart Association on the back of research carried out by scientists from Columbia University. For the purposes of the study, data collected during previous projects was analysed, in order to determine exactly how meals (and meals that are missed) influence and effect human health.
The conclusion of the research team was that the timing of meals “may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock”.
“In animal studies, it appears that when animals receive food while in an inactive phase, such as when they are sleeping, their internal clocks are reset in a way that can alter nutrient metabolism, resulting in greater weight gain, insulin resistance and inflammation,” co-author Marie-Pierre St-Onge commented.
“However, more research would need to be done in humans before that can be stated as a fact.”
But while the dangers associated with missing breakfast were clearly highlighted, the researchers felt it important to reiterate the value of a balanced breakfast, along with a healthy diet in general including plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.
They also reminded the public to be cautious of eating too much red meat, along with foods high in added sugar and salt – adding that meal timing can have an impact on exactly how detrimental to health poor dietary choices can be.
“We suggest eating mindfully, by paying attention to planning both what you eat and when you eat meals and snacks, to combat emotional eating,” St-Onge said.
“Many people find that emotions can trigger eating episodes when they are not hungry, which often leads to eating too many calories from foods that have low nutritional value.”