Every well-read dieter knows that skipping breakfast could harm their attempts at weight loss, but the latest research suggests it may also be bad for the heart.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, US, discovered that men who regularly skipped their morning meal had a higher risk of heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease than those who always had breakfast.

The findings are published in a prestigious medical journal and provide more weight for the argument that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

Harvard Scientists Focus On Breakfast

a panel of doctors standing one after another

Harvard scientists discovered the importance of breakfast for heart health by looking at data on more than 26,000 men between the ages of 45 and 82, all of whom were tracked for 16 years. During that time, the men provided information on their dietary habits.

The researchers also took several other factors into account, such as the men’s activity levels, overall diet quality, sleep patterns, smoking status, alcohol intake, medical history, BMI and social factors. This enabled them to see whether any differences in heart health really were linked to their breakfast habits.

Breakfast Skippers Were More Prone To Heart Attacks!

The researchers discovered that men who regularly skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have a heart attack or to die from coronary heart disease than those who didn’t! This is a major increase in risk that could be avoided, simply by making the time to have a healthy and nutritious meal each morning.

If you want more information on the study, you can read the scientists’ report in the American Heart Association journal Circulation HERE. (((http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/128/4/337.abstract?sid=48352c3e-3dc8-490a-9e4f-d72e428bb35c )))

Findings Show Importance Of Overall Dietary Habits

The researchers believe their findings could have real implications for bringing down heart attack rates, since remembering to eat breakfast is something that people could easily be encouraged to do. Dr. Eric Simm, senior author and associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard, said:

Our study group has spent decades studying the health effects of diet quality and composition, and now this new data also suggests overall dietary habits can be important to lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Another of the study’s authors, Dr. Leah Cahill, explained:

Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time.

So What Constitutes A Healthy Breakfast?

The key message from the study is not to skip breakfast. But how do you go about ensuring your morning meal is healthy and nutritious?

A very healthy breakfast with full of nutrition

According to Dr. Cahill, you should incorporate many types of healthy foods into your breakfast to ensure you start the day with adequate energy and a healthy balance of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Here are some examples of healthy breakfasts:

  • Whole grain cereal or oatmeal with low-fat milk, topped with nuts and chopped fruit
  • Whole grain toast with a sliced banana on top
  • A poached egg on whole grain toast
  • A bowl of fruit with Greek yoghurt
  • Grilled mushrooms on whole grain toast


Anna Seward

About Anna Seward

  • Senior Health Information Officer at Prostate Cancer UK
  • Experienced producer of consumer health information (written and audio-visual)
  • NCTJ-trained journalist with more than eight years' experience of writing and editing content on a range of subjects
  • More than seven years' experience writing about consumer health and medical research for charities, patient information websites and pharmaceutical companies
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