At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told that breakfast is the most important part of the day. Chances are if you’ve ever watched TV, you’ve also seen a cereal commercial, heard the line ‘part of a balanced breakfast’. And chances are, you find yourself running out the door at least some of the time without bothering to eat breakfast. Is it really a big deal? There is some research that suggests that yes, it is. There have been numerous arguments for and against whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Consider this:
Skipping Breakfast Could Contribute to Poor Health
There has been some research that suggests skipping breakfast on a regular basis can lead to certain health problems, most noticeably the hardening of the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs as a result of plaque buildup. This can cause a number of health problems, most notably, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attack, and stroke. While the study did point out this correlation, there is no conclusive evidence to provide causation- that is to say, the act of skipping breakfast doesn’t likely cause plaque to form directly, but it may be indicative other unhealthy habits that cause plaque buildup.
According to the study, the odds of having plaque buildup in people who skipped breakfast regularly at least doubled that of those who ate breakfast regularly. This was verified through measurements of six locations commonly affected by the buildup of plaque. These areas are the neck (carotid arteries), the abdominals (infrarenal abdominal aorta) and the pelvic region (iliofemoral arteries). These blood vessels are crucial parts of the circulatory system. However, this buildup was not just a matter of those who ate breakfast vs those who didn’t. Those not eating enough at breakfast revealed similar results to those skipping breakfast entirely.
Differences in Eating, Skimping, and Skipping
To be fair, those who ate at least a light breakfast were better off than the breakfast skippers. However, they were not as healthy as those who ate a full breakfast in the mornings. For those who ate something -but not enough- there was about a 20% increased likelihood to have a buildup of plaque in their key blood vessels. This is certainly a much better figure than those who skipped breakfast entirely, though it still does not compare to those who had a healthy breakfast on a daily basis. Still, is breakfast, or the lack thereof, cause of plaque buildup?