Breakfast may truly be the most important meal of the day. A small study suggests that skipping that morning meal may be a bad move for the heart, and possibly the waistline.
British researchers found that when healthy, lean women skipped their morning meal, it raised their cholesterol levels and diminished their bodies’ sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
On top of that, the women tended to eat more calories on breakfast-free days - suggesting that, over the long haul, skipping breakfast could spur weight gain. Dr. Hamid R. Farshchi and his colleagues at the University of Nottingham had 10 young, normal-weight women spend two weeks eating bran flakes with low-fat milk for breakfast, then two meals and two snacks throughout the rest of the day; and two weeks skipping breakfast and eating the cereal around noon, after a morning snack of a cookie.
‘‘If the first thing somebody eats in the day is a mid-morning snack and has the cereal later in the day,” Farshchi said, the metabolic benefits are not the same as eating the cereal first thing.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD