Getting the chance to make breakfast before rushing off to work can be a challenge (you need time to revive your sweaty post-SoulCycle hair, after all!). But there’s an important and surprising reason to make your first meal a priority: According to a new study, skipping breakfast can increase your risk for heart disease.
Researchers looked at health data from 4,000 men and women and found those who either skipped breakfast entirely (and had coffee or juice instead) or ate a low-calorie meal (like toast or a banana) were more likely to develop atherosclerosis—AKA the hardening and narrowing of the arteries—than those who ate big, healthy breakfasts.
Those who either skipped breakfast entirely or ate a low-calorie meal were more likely to develop atherosclerosis than those who ate big, healthy breakfasts.
Furthermore, those who either ate a really small breakfast or nothing at all were less healthy overall: Opting out of of breakfast was not only associated with hormonal imbalances and altered circadian rhythms, but it also prompted participants to eat more unhealthy foods later on.
“Between 20 and 30 percent of adults skip breakfast, and these trends mirror the increasing prevalence of obesity and associated cardiometabolic abnormalities,” said Prakash Deedwania, MD, in a press release.
Skipping breakfast was not only associated with hormonal imbalances and altered circadian rhythms, but it also prompted participants to eat more unhealthy foods later on.
To avoid health issues that stem from from slacking on breakfast, rethink your routine: According to Cleveland Clinic, the best way to fuel your body is by filling your plate with foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and fat, as well as limiting large amounts of sugar and nutrient-stripped carbs (like white flour and white rice).
So, enjoy devouring a balanced breakfast: It will keep you strong and energized—and help ensure that your heart stays healthy in the process.