Breakfast skippers – At double risk of hardened arteries -Dr. Sukhmeet Bedi
Skipping breakfast often? You may be more likely to develop hardened arteries
Skipping breakfast may lead to narrowing arteries: study
People who skip breakfast are at a greater risk of developing atherosclerosis – hardening and narrowing of arteries due to a build-up of plaque, a study warns.
Atherosclerosis (or arteriosclerotic vascular disease) is a condition where the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to a build up of plaque around the artery wall.Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. They are lined by a thin layer of cells that keeps them smooth and allows blood to flow easily; this is called the endothelium.
Atherosclerosis starts when the endothelium becomes damaged, allowing low-density lipoproteins (LDL – bad) cholesterol to accumulate in the artery wall.This reduces arterial elasticity, and, over time, it can lead to coronary heart disease, angina, or peripheral artery disease, among other conditions.
Subclinical atherosclerosis is a latent form of the condition, which does not produce symptoms straight away.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated the association between breakfast and the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Researchers, including those from Tufts University in the US, found that atherosclerosis was observed more frequently among participants who skipped breakfast and was also higher in participants who consumed low-energy breakfasts compared to breakfast consumers.A high-energy breakfast might comprise a good source of protein – such as yogurt or eggs – whole grains, and fruit.
They also noted that cardiometabolic risk markers were more prevalent in those who skipped breakfast and low-energy breakfast consumers compared to breakfast consumers.
Participants who skipped breakfast had the greatest waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure, blood lipids and fasting glucose levels, researchers said.
Those who skipped breakfast were more likely to have an overall unhealthy lifestyle, including poor overall diet, frequent alcohol consumption and smoking.
They were also more likely to be hypertensive and overweight or obese, researchers said.
“Aside from the direct association with cardiovascular risk factors, skipping breakfast might serve as a marker for a general unhealthy diet or lifestyle which in turn is associated with the development and progression of atherosclerosis,” said Jose L Penalvo, assistant professor at Tufts University.
Researchers examined male and female volunteers who were free from cardiovascular or chronic kidney disease.
A computerised questionnaire was used to estimate the usual diet of the participants, and breakfast patterns were based on the percentage of total daily energy intake consumed at breakfast.
Three groups were identified – those consuming less than five per cent of their total energy intake in the morning; those consuming more than 20 per cent of their total energy intake in the morning ; and those consuming between five and 20 per cent.
Of the 4,052 participants, 2.9 per cent skipped breakfast, 69.4 per cent were low-energy breakfast consumers and 27.7 per cent were breakfast consumers, researchers said.
Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to promote greater heart health, including healthier weight and cholesterol. Previous studies have linked skipping breakfast to coronary heart disease risk.