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Skipping Breakfast May Contribute to Hardening of Arteries

Skipping breakfast is considered a frequent and unhealthy habit that is associated with higher cardiovascular risk. Now a new study has found that skipping breakfast may contribute to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to plaque, also called atherosclerosis.

Participants in the study included 4,052 people who did not have cardiovascular disease or chronic kidney disease. All of the participants completed a computerized questionnaire in order to determine their usual diet. Breakfast patterns were determined based on the percentage of total daily calorie intake in the morning.

The researchers placed the participants into three categories: those who skipped breakfast and only had coffee, juice, or another non-alcoholic beverage (2.9%); those who consumed more than 20% of their total calorie intake in the morning (69.4%); and those who consumed between 5% and 20% of their total calorie intake in the morning (27.7%).

After examining the data, the researchers determined that participants who skipped breakfast were more likely to have an overall unhealthy lifestyle, including poor diet, frequent alcohol consumption, and smoking. They were also more likely to have high blood pressure and be overweight or obese. Atherosclerosis was observed most frequently among participants who skipped breakfast, and was also higher in participants who consumed low-energy breakfasts.

The researchers pointed out that sometimes people who are obese or overweight skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight. However, those same people often end up eating more, and unhealthier, foods later in the day, negating the effects of skipping breakfast.

Researchers from Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III in Spain conducted the study. It was published on October 10, 2017, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Previous studies have found that eating breakfast may curb hunger throughout the rest of the day. Some studies have also found that it contributes to weight loss, although the results regarding weight loss are still inconclusive.

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