When you wake up in the morning you may have been asleep, but your body wasn’t. While you were catching your much needed ZZZ’s, your body’s systems were hard at work cleaning up the metabolic debris of yesterday and preparing for the challenges of tomorrow. That activity consumes a lot of nutrients and often leaves us in a bit of nutritional debt that may set you up for all sorts of problems, from day-to-day fatigue to a fast track path to chronic disease. Science tells us a simple solution for avoiding this is to refuel each morning…. meaning eat your breakfast!
The nutritional sciences talk a lot about the “modifiable risk factors” of diet and disease. The most obvious to all of us is probably the mantra of cutting back on the high fat, high sugar, fast foods, processed foods and convenience foods and eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 rich fish. A proven health strategy! But a less obvious one we should all know about is understanding the importance of breakfast in our health / disease risk equation. For the last decade or so scientists have been raising their voices about the importance of “the most important meal of the day” and well—they should! Breaking your overnight fast (break-fast) is a fundamental factor in ensuring a day full of energy, vitality and mental sharpness. Failing to do so, by skipping breakfast, can set you up to oscillate between hyper- and hypo-glycaemia (the glycaemic roller-coaster), fatigue, over eating, weight gain, fuzzy brain and much worse.
Now, new research published in the January 2019 issue of the Journal of Nutrition points to breakfast skipping directly increasing your risk of diabetes.1,2 That makes sense when you think about it. Breakfast really is the most important meal of your day. Failing to give your body the nutrients it needs, especially first thing in the morning, undermines your biochemistry and hampers your body’s cells, tissue, organs and systems to function in ways with both short term and long term negative implications.
The direct association between breakfast skipping and diabetes risk is not exactly a new idea though. At least six previous studies between 2010 and 2015 each came to that same conclusion.3–8 The compelling aspect of this 2019 study is that it makes a dose-response type comparison. For example, the authors show that skipping breakfast 4-5 times per week suggests a 40% increase in your risk of developing diabetes or a 55% increase when you take into account body mass index (BMI); the higher the BMI, the higher the risk. But perhaps more alarming is their analysis that even one day of skipped breakfast per week represents a 5% increase in risk of diabetes. That may seem like a small number but considering all the other diabetes-promoting risk factors that we’re confronted with each day, it can create big impact. On the flip side though, this also shows that the more frequently you consume breakfast the lower your risk.
The NeoLife Scientific Advisory Board has been researching and tracking the science that’s been highlighting the importance of breakfast to long-term health and vitality for decades. It is the evidence that this research has provided, along with our healthy respect for Nature’s Plan for human nutrition that is the foundation of NeoLife’s “Breakfast Pack” programs. Not just doing breakfast, but doing breakfast right, setting a foundation for a healthy diet and setting you up for an energy-filled day.
- Mekary RA. Breakfast skipping and type 2 diabetes: where do we stand? J Nutr. 2019;149(1):1-3. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy284
- Ballon A, Neuenschwander M, Schlesinger S. Breakfast skipping is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes among adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. J Nutr. 2019;149(1):106-113. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy194
- Bi H, Gan Y, Yang C, Chen Y, Tong X, Lu Z. Breakfast skipping and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(16):3013-3019. doi:10.1017/S1368980015000257
- Uemura M, Yatsuya H, Hilawe EH, et al. Breakfast skipping is positively associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: evidence from the Aichi Workers’ Cohort Study. J Epidemiol. 2015;25(5):351-358. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20140109
- Mekary RA, Giovannucci E, Cahill L, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in older women: breakfast consumption and eating frequency. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):436-443. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.057521
- Mekary RA, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in men: breakfast omission, eating frequency, and snacking. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(5):1182-1189. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.028209
- Odegaard AO, Jacobs DR, Steffen LM, Horn LV, Ludwig DS, Pereira MA. Breakfast frequency and development of metabolic risk. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(10):3100-3106. doi:10.2337/dc13-0316
- Smith KJ, Gall SL, McNaughton SA, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Venn AJ. Skipping breakfast: longitudinal associations with cardiometabolic risk factors in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92(6):1316-1325. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.30101
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