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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Looking to Improve Your Metabolic Health? Stop Skipping Breakfast

By Rachel Murphy

Metabolic health, insulin and glucose is related to a host of poor health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. How can you improve your metabolic health?  Active living and a balanced diet rich in micronutrients may help. A recent study by Thomas and colleagues suggests that improving your metabolic health may be easier than you think.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day is something that we’ve all heard. I can hear it ringing in my head on mornings I am rushing out the door with only a coffee in hand! Thomas and colleagues conducted a randomized, cross-over trial to test the metabolic and hunger response to skipping breakfast in 9 overweight women who regularly ate breakfast and 9 who regularly skipped breakfast. On one test day all women ate breakfast and on a second test day all women skipped breakfast.

Among women who regularly ate breakfast, the insulin, free fatty acid response and pre-lunch hunger were higher when breakfast was skipped. The authors suggest that the adverse effects of skipping breakfast in habitual breakfast eaters may reflect entrainment of metabolic and appetitive regulatory systems. In other words, metabolic response and appetite can be thrown off when we stray from our normal habits.  This study adds to other compelling reasons to eat breakfast including improving daily nutrient intake, helping maintain a normal body weight and boosting academic performance. So reach for that cereal box in the morning or take your breakfast to go if you are running behind. Don’t let a change in how you start your day impact the rest of your day.

Main Citation

Thomas EA, Higgins J, Bessesen DH, McNair B, Cornier M. Usual breakfast eating habits affect response to breakfast skipping in overweight women. Obesity. Epub Mar 6 2015, doi:10.1002/oby.21049

Other Citations

Nicklas TA, Reger C, Myers L, O’Neil C. Breakfast consumption with and without vitamin-mineral supplement use favorably impacts daily nutrient intake of ninth-grade students. J Adol Health. 2000;27(5):314-321.

Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J of Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105(5):743-760.