You have a greater risk of heart disease
Dora Milanovich/Shutterstock Some 31 million Americans are breakfast skippers, studies show. Some are trying to cut calories, some are too busy during the morning rush, and others say they just don’t feel hungry. But despite some reports, the research overwhelmingly shows that eating a good breakfast is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. A study from Harvard University found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent greater risk of heart attack or heart disease than those who dug in. Although they haven’t pinpointed a direct cause, researchers suspect that remaining in a fasting state for longer is stressful and makes the body work harder, causing metabolic changes. “The changes in hormones to help maintain blood sugar levels and the trend toward weight gain in patients who skip breakfast has been linked to heart disease,” says Christian J. Gastelum, MD, an endocrinologist at PIH Health in Whittier, California. These changes lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, upping your chances of heart problems.
You’re more likely to get diabetes
Africa Studio/Shutterstock Skipping that bowl of oatmeal or yogurt parfait could mess with your blood sugar. Another Harvard study found that women who regularly didn’t eat breakfast had a 20 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Skipping the morning meal is linked with impaired glucose tolerance and that is further associated with the development of prediabetes and diabetes,” Dr. Gastelum says. The theory is the irregular blood sugar spikes that occur when we fast for a long time and then eat a lot because we’re hungry put a strain on the body, which can lead to insulin resistance. If you have diabetes, here are the breakfast rules all diabetics should follow.
You may gain weight
allstars/Shutterstock If you’re trying to lose weight, it would seem that the less you eat, the more pounds you’d drop, right? But that’s not exactly the case. Although research is mixed on whether eating breakfast has a direct effect on weight loss, the link between skipping breakfast and weight gain has been shown. “One theory is that people who eat breakfast are more likely to practice lifestyle behaviors associated with an ideal body weight and good health,” says Shannon R. Weston, MPH, a certified diabetes educator at UTHealth School of Nursing in Houston. “Another theory is that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat at subsequent meals, consuming the majority of calories during the most sedentary hours of the day.” Dr. Gastelum says that some of his patients don’t realize they take in more calories in one sitting than in three planned meals. “Patients who frequently skip meals believing that they are eating less or consuming fewer calories are often wrong,” he says. “They tend to have a rubber band effect on their calorie intake—they skip breakfast and then overeat at lunch.” Here are 20 more hidden reasons your diet isn’t working.