Today’s post is another in recognition of American Heart Month. Many of us can recall being reminded by our mother to “eat your breakfast” when we were young, usually as teenagers. It turns out that as is usually the case, mom was giving us good advice.
An interesting study from a research group primarily located in Spain and the US used data from PESA (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis) and looked at the association of breakfast styles and cardiovascular risk factors and the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis.
The PESA study is an ongoing observational investigation of over 4000 employees who work at the Bank Santander Headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Female and male participants in the study were ages 40-54, and were free from cardiovascular disease at the time of enrollment in the study. The participants were asked to complete a computerized food questionnaire, which included over 800 food items. Based on this data the “energy consumed during breakfast” was calculated.
Three different categories of breakfast patterns were established. First were the “breakfast skippers”, whose breakfast intake did not exceed 5% of the their total daily energy intake. The next category was the “low energy” breakfast group, who consumed between 5% and 20% of their total daily energy intake at breakfast. The third group was the “high energy” breakfast group which consisted of those who consumed more than 20% of their total energy intake at breakfast. Of the over 4000 study subjects, 3% were in the “breakfast skipper” group, 69% were in the “low energy” group, and 28% were in the “high energy” breakfast group.
Ultrasound was used to assess for atherosclerotic plaques in the carotids, the abdominal aorta, and the illiofemoral arteries. The prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis for the PESA subjects was 62.5% in the “breakfast skippers” group, 60.3% in the “low energy” group, and 13.4% in the “high energy” group.
Importantly, regularly skipping breakfast was associated with 2.57 higher odds for generalized atherosclerosis, and 1.55 higher odds for noncoronary atherosclerosis, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking).
So, make some time in the morning for breakfast. It turns out mom was right, again.
“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”. Lewis Carroll
(Source- Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol. 70, No. 15, 2017)
This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.