By now, we're all familiar with the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether it's been drilled into you by a well-meaning family member, or is a result of reading too many scare-mongering articles on the internet, one thing's for sure: you have, at one point or another, ate breakfast just because you felt you had to.
Personally I am a great fan of breakfast. I mean, there's nothing better than tucking into a warm plate of freshly scrambled eggs in bed. Or if you're feeling decadent you can indulge in a brunch of French toast, naturally covered in a variety of heart-attack inducing toppings.
However, I do understand that at times you can be in too much of a rush to put together an artisanal breakfast of avocado eggs, and occasionally the idea of eating at some ungodly hour can seem borderline nauseating. But, as it turns out, breakfast is actually incredibly important. So important, in fact, that you may be putting yourself at risk of heart disease if you choose to forgo it.
A Spanish study recently found that skipping breakfast on a regular basis could be harmful to your heart.
Researchers discovered that middle-aged men and women who usually forsake their morning meal had double the chance of developing atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of the arteries) than those who took the time to eat something before going about their day. Although we have heard such claims before, this particular study was unique in its analysis.
Researchers looked at three distinct types of breakfast eaters: those who skipped breakfast, those who eat small breakfasts and those who eat heartier breakfasts. They then measured the amount of plaque present in the participants' arteries, before naturally collecting data about their family history, lifestyle habits as well as any notable potential risk factors for heart disease.
After gathering data from around 4,000 Spaniards who had no previous history of heart disease and were between the ages of 40 and 54, the study found that middle aged people who don't eat breakfast had one and a half times more plaque in their arteries, compared with those who choose to eat healthy breakfasts.
In addition, those who regularly skip breakfast were not only more likely to be overweight or obese but they also tended to have poorer diets overall.
And the benefits of eating breakfast didn't just end there. Researchers discovered that those who enjoy a high caloric intake in the morning could profit from having better blood sugar control throughout the day, and it can also help stave off hunger and cravings for unhealthy salts and sugars.
While Jose Penalvo, the co-author of the study, acknowledged that skipping breakfast goes hand-in-hand with other unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol intake, the study's findings continued to hold true even after researchers considered such factors, as well as high cholesterol and lack of exercise.
Well, I don't know about you, but that sounds like pretty conclusive evidence for me. I guess we better start stocking up the pantry with eggs, bread and avocados galore. After all, eating all that food is now good for us.