Chicago Health | Homepage
New evidence supports breakfast skippers

New evidence supports breakfast skippers

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts

By Robert Shmerling, M.D.

Q: I grew up with the mantra “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But in recent years, I just have coffee as I rush out the door. Am I damaging my health by skipping breakfast?

A: I must confess: I do the same thing. But both of us can share some comfort based on findings of a new study. Skipping breakfast may not be as bad for you as commonly believed.

Researchers enrolled healthy kids, ages 8 to 10, in a study and repeatedly measured attention, impulsiveness, memory, verbal learning and speed of processing information. For each of these measures, the kids did no better (or worse) on the days they ate breakfast compared to the days they didn’t.

Of course, this study only assessed the short-term impact of breakfast on healthy school-age kids. The findings could have been quite different if it included “habitual breakfast skippers,” adults or people who don’t get adequate nutrition.

There have been fewer studies done on adults, and the results have been inconsistent and inconclusive. Some studies suggest that people who choose to skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who eat breakfast.

However, such studies have been criticized because of the real possibility that a factor other than breakfast habit might be responsible for the higher rates of obesity among breakfast skippers. For example, a recent study found that people who eat breakfast are more health conscious and exercise more regularly.

Adding to the controversy, another large study found that eating breakfast had no consistent effect on rates of obesity or being overweight. And yet another study found that adults who skipped breakfast actually consumed fewer calories by the end of the day.

My takeaway: It’s much more important to focus on what and how much we eat rather than focusing on when. And I’m feeling less guilty about my breakfast skipping habit.

(Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Chief of Rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. For additional consumer health information, please visit www.health.harvard.edu.)

(c) 2017 PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Fighting Obesity With Calorie Counts and Community Efforts

Fighting Obesity With Calorie Counts and Community Efforts

By Kevin Sterne A federal regulation that would have given consumers a better idea of their

6 Things to Know Before Starting Infertility Treatments

6 Things to Know Before Starting Infertility Treatments

By Nadine Kenney Johnstone It’s a surprising statistic: One in every eight couples has trouble getting

Food as Medicine

Food as Medicine

How what you eat affects your mood By Nancy Maes “You are what you eat” may seem

Miss-Diagnosed: Heart disease is the number one killer of women, yet it’s often hidden

Miss-Diagnosed: Heart disease is the number one killer of women, yet it’s often hidden

By Laura Drucker Who do you picture when you think of a typical heart disease patient?

Beating the Biological Clock

Beating the Biological Clock

Eggs without an expiration date offer women fertile hopes By Morgan Lord Starting at age 30, women

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives