Everyone always comments about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That not only does it give you your first serving of energy, but it also gets your metabolism going, causing you to burn more calories than if you’d skipped the meal. Apparently, though, breakfast does far more than that. It doesn’t just set you up for the day ahead. It sets you up for your life.
A Study in Breakfast
This news came from a study conducted in Sweden, a long lasting one that had begun in 1981. That year Umea University asked students from the area questions about their breakfast, whether they ate one and what they ate if they did. 27 years later—that’s 2008—the student respondents returned to the university to undergo some health tests. Specifically, researchers were looking for symptoms of metabolic syndrome—a disorder of energy utilization and storage in the body. It’s diagnosed based on the occurrence of 3 of these 5 medical conditions:
- abdominal (central) obesity
- elevated blood pressure
- high serum triglycerides
- elevated fasting plasma glucose
- low high-density cholesterol (HDL) levels (remember HDL is the good kind)
- metabolic syndrome also often entails diabetes
Researchers found that the young students who neglected to eat breakfast—or ate a poor one—were 68% more likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome as adults compared with those who had eaten more substantial breakfasts as young people. There are of course other factors that could affect the onset of metabolic syndrome. The researchers, however, did take into account participants’ different socioeconomic factors and lifestyle habits. In the end they found that breakfast was the strongest indicator of the marked increase in likelihood of metabolic syndrome. The Swedish study affirms a similar study conducted by the University of Tel Aviv. That study had shown that eating more calories in the morning, as opposed to later in the day, can reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.
No Breakfast and the Damage Done
Clearly, there’s a connection between a poor breakfast and metabolic disorders. Somehow the former creates a negative effect on the regulation of blood regulation. At this juncture, the researchers can see the correlation, but not the causation. They stated that more research would be required to understand the ‘why.’
Breakfast has therefore become that much more crucial to our health. Previous research had shown how beneficial it was, for instance, in attempting to lose weight. One study demonstrated a huge disparity in participants: those who’d eaten a larger breakfast and smaller lunch/dinners lost on average 19.1 lbs; those who ate more calories later only lost 7.9 lbs.
But this study reveals that very real, very serious damage can be wrought on your body. This isn’t just a matter of having a healthy diet. Eating breakfast is a matter of potentially life or death. Many people see breakfast as indispensable, which is great. But a great many people skip breakfast, seeing it as a waste of time as they rush off to school or work. Studies such as this one—if they find out about it—are certain to change their mind.
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