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Is Skipping Breakfast Good For Your Health? Medical Minute 32

Is Skipping Breakfast Good for Your Health?

Hi, I’m Dr. Craig Primack. And today’s question is very simply, is skipping breakfast good for your health?

Intermittent Fasting and Time Restricted Feeding

Over the last several years, something called intermittent fasting has become very popular. One of the versions of intermittent fasting is called time-restricted feeding, where people eat for a window of the day and don’t eat for the other part. It starts usually at about 10 hours. So say you start eating it 9:00 in the morning and you finished by 7:00 PM and it goes down to six hours. And the earlier that six hour period is, it’s believed to be better, but most people end up doing it, usually between 12:00 noon and 6:00 PM. It could even go as far as six hours from 2:00 in the afternoon till 8:00 PM. So, at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, is skipping breakfast good for our health? And so I always want to go and say, what does the data say.

The Breakfast Study

A recent study that was published, showed that having breakfast after 9:30 in the morning was very metabolically unhealthy. Eating a proper breakfast before 9:30 in the morning leads to an improvement in your metabolic health, an improvement in weight loss and delays complications that are associated with type two diabetes and other metabolic problems like that. Eating breakfast leads to improving, what’s called our cyclic clock gene. It has to do with your circadian rhythms and with a proper circadian rhythm blood sugar is lower usually during the day hours than the night hours with the same types of food. And during this time where you had breakfast before 9:00 in the morning, it improved body weight, it improved blood pressure, improved endothelial dysfunction which is the lining of our blood vessels is called the endothelium, as well as decreased overall atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries or clogging, we may say, off the arteries.

In this study, it was done on 18 people who were normal weight and 18 people who had obesity and who also had diabetes. And they had two days where they came into the lab. The first day they ate breakfast and lunch and then did a bunch of blood work. And the second time they ate just lunch and did the same blood work. On both days, they did blood work to look at their circadian postprandial gene expression, to look at their blood sugar or glucose, to look at insulin, involved with diabetes or not having enough insulin with diabetes, something called IGF-1 or insulin like growth factor one and something called DPP-4 activity.

Benefits of Breakfast

On days where they had breakfast this meal triggered the proper gene expression for circadian rhythm and glucose throughout the day.  This lead to improved blood sugar throughout the day. Then on days with no breakfast, this gene was not regulated leading to higher necessary insulin levels, as far as a worst glycemic response. This suggests that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain even without the incidence of overeating later in the day.

Breakfast is “Maybe” the Most Important Meal of the Day

At the end of the day, we should not base breakfast or not breakfast on a small study of 36 people. But yet after practicing weight loss medicine for the last 14 years, I can tell you more people than not who come to see me for their first visit, when I do a diet history were not already having breakfast.  When I put them on a diet, they do begin to lose weight. That being said, it’s likely not just eating breakfast that will take you down 25 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds or more. It does take a whole comprehensive plan. But really at the end,

maybe mom was right

when she told us breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

At that point, she just didn’t have a study to back it up.

Thanks for being here today. Have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you next time.

 

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