You know that it is important to watch what you eat, but a new study suggests that when you eat may be just as important. According to researchers, two of the most prominent meal habits—skipping breakfast and eating a late dinner—can significantly contribute to heart attack risk. The European Society of Cardiology says that those who combine these two eating practices are four to five times more likely to die or suffer a second heart attack or angina within the first month of being discharged from a hospital for a heart attack.
Senior lead study author Dr. Wei Bao explains that after accounting for age, sex, race, disease, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, body mass index, and diet, those who never eat breakfast have an 87 percent higher risk of cardiovascular mortality than those who consistently eat a daily morning repast.
The University of Iowa assistant professor of epidemiology goes on to say, “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.”
It is important to note that cardiovascular disease—and specifically stroke and heart disease—is the leading cause of death, globally. As a whole, the World Health Organization says cardiovascular disease accounted for 15.2 million global deaths in 2016.
In addition, study author Dr. Marcos Minicucci, of Brazil’s Sao Paolo State University recommends that people continue to adhere to the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. He goes further to advise that a quality breakfast should have between 15 and 33 percent of our daily caloric intake and consist of dairy products, a single carbohydrate, and whole fruits.
For the study, the researchers looked at data collected from 2,318 adults for almost 19 years, concluding in 2011. Of this population, more than 5 percent reported never eating breakfast; nearly 11 percent rarely had breakfast; 25 percent had breakfast on only some days; and about 59 percent reported a daily breakfast.
Those who did not eat breakfast were found to have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke-related death than those who had a daily breakfast. And of these, they also found increased risk for obesity, hypertension, T2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and elevated fats and cholesterol levels in the blood.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.