Here’s another reason (besides weight loss) not to skip breakfast. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology tells us that people who skip breakfast are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings conclude that regularly missing breakfast leads to more plaque buildup in the arteries.
Skipping breakfast has previously also been associated with being overweight and having high cholesterol levels, but this new study draws a direct correlation between missing breakfast and hardening and narrowing of the arteries, the early stages of atherosclerosis.
Breakfast Helps Heart Health
The study, based on 4,000 men and women, found that skipping breakfast, or even settling for a small breakfast of toast or a pastry, put people at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than a more substantial breakfast containing protein.
“People who ate less than 5% of their daily calories at breakfast were 2.5 times as likely to have generalized atherosclerosis—meaning their arteries had early signs of plaque in different locations—compared with those who ate the largest breakfasts. Those who had low-calorie breakfasts were at increased risk for early signs of plaque in their arteries, as well.”
Here’s What The Study Found In People Who Skipped Breakfast:
- Bigger waist measurement
- Higher BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Higher blood pressure
- Higher cholesterol
- Higher fasting glucose levels (blood sugar)
- Plaque buildup in the arteries
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
A Protein Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight
The “classic” American breakfast of a bowl of cereal in milk with toast and a glass of juice is pretty much a frightening recipe for metabolic disease. That processed cereal essentially becomes sugar as soon as it begins to digest, even if it wasn’t sugared already… and the milk is high in sugar too. The toast also turns to sugar (glucose), and there may be jam… and the supposedly healthy juice probably contains over 20 grams of sugar… probably quite a bit more.
Let’s put all that processed food aside and eat real food for breakfast. No baked goods, no milk, no juice, no cereal – but some healthy protein, vegetables and maybe some slow carbs to set you up for a productive day without hunger. Oh, and a cup of coffee is just fine – and if you take some cream, that’s not a problem.
Protein not only repairs cells and helps healthy muscle development, it also helps you lose weight. Try to include protein in every meal – breakfast too. Good examples of protein sources include eggs, chicken, fish, cottage cheese, quinoa, or pea protein powder.
The The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound, for a fairly sedentary person – in other words, this is a minimum suggested amount. That’s 56 grams for an average man, or 46 grams for an average woman.
However, your protein requirements also depend on your age and activity level, and even whether you’re trying to lose weight. If you are actively body building, you’ll need more, and so will a person trying to shed fat and preserve muscle while dieting. Here’s a protein intake calculator you can try.
Balancing Your Macronutrients
Of course, you can’t just eat protein long term – and if you tried, you’d not only stress your organs, but your body would convert some of it to glucose to fuel your metabolism. Instead, plan for a balanced diet that includes healthy fats to provide satiety, protein to fuel muscles, and non-starchy vegetable-based carbs to provide fiber and fuel for healthy gut bacteria.
If you haven’t already learned about how slow carbs are a dieter’s friend, you may want to learn about those too.
It Can Be Tempting To Skip Breakfast If You’re Rushed
Sure, if you skip breakfast, you get your day rolling faster, but you’re not more productive if your brain is struggling for fuel and you also tend to overeat when you starve yourself in the morning. If you want to lose weight and stay healthy (and avoid heart disease according to that new study!), don’t skip breakfast.