Does Skipping Breakfast Really Harden
Your Arteries? --- Not


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January 6, 2018
By
Susan Callahan, Featured Columnist  

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of
our Editorial Board.]









Everyday, there seems to be a new headline advising us of
the dangers to our health of skipping breakfast. Breakfast
has acquired a kind of mythical powers to divide the
healthy from the unhealthy, over the past several decades.
Almost every negative social metric has been tied to
skipping breakfast. Children who skip breakfast have lower
attention spans, are missing nutrients and even may be
"malnourished", various agencies and think tanks have
screamed. Generations of us have been fully indoctrinated
to believe, without questioning, that "breakfast is the most
important meal of the day."

Now comes a new study that has found yet another
dangerous consequence of skipping breakfast. This one
warns that skipping breakfast leads to hardening of the
arteries. Really?



The Study Divided People into Breakfast Skippers, Light
Breakfast Eaters and Breakfast Eaters



The study's 4,052 participants aged 40 to 54 were divided
into three groups, depending upon their answers to a
health questionnaire. Those who skipped breakfast entirely
were in one group, those who ate a light breakfast (5% of
their daily calories were consumed at breakfast) and those
who ate breakfast (20% of their daily calories were
consumed at breakfast).

The scientists, led by Professor Jose L. Peñalvo, at the
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy of Tufts
University, then used  an MRI to examine evidence of
plaques in the carotid arteries, iliofemoral arteries, the
aorta, and the coronary arteries. At the start of the study,
none of the participants initially had artery plaques.

Six years later, the scientists looked again at the evidecne
of arteriosclerosis.


Those Who Skipped Breakfast Had the Most Plaque in Their
Arteries





























Those participants in the study who skipped breakfast
entirely had the most plaque clogging their arteries. In fact,
those who skipped breakfast had 1.5 times more plaque in
their arteries than those who ate breakfast.

But before you join the authors in concluding that skipping
breakfast is the reason the plaque is present, you should
read the fine print of the study. The study also found that
those who skipped breakfast also were likely to be
smokers. They also had unspecified "other" negative
lifestyle habits.


The mention of smoking predominant trait among those
who skipped breakfast was a major red flag not mentioned
in many of the press reports about this study. Smoking, as
many other reputable studies have confirmed, is the single
most damaging thing you can do to your arteries. Smoking
narrows the arteries making them more likely to develop
blockages.

So, if is entirely plausible that smoking, and not breakfast,
is the real cause of the greater amount of plaque in the
arteries of breakfast skippers.



Countries Where People Eat Light Breakfasts Seems to
Have Lower Rates of Heart Disease



France is a country of light breakfast eaters. The typical
French breakfast consists of  coffee with a croissant or
other pastry. In fact, this is exactly the breakfast that one
Jean Calment of the town of Arles, France ate every single
day of her life until she died at the age of 122 years old,
still the world's record for the longest lived person. So, no,
the French typically do not eat French toast for breakfast.

The French breakfast is similar to what Italians eat. The
typical Italian breakfast is caffè latte or coffee with bread,
butter and a jam.

At the other end of the spectrum are the British. Most of
the British eat a hearty breakfast, some version of a fried
breakfast, consisting of eggs, bacon or sausage, bread and
perhaps also beans and mushrooms. This is what 27% of
the British eat for breakfast, according to a 2016 survey of
2000 adults published in "The Scotsman" newspaper.
Regionally, those in Cardiff also eat fried bread and 40% of
those in Belfast, Northern Ireland prefer potato bread.
Another 16% of the British eat cereal for breakfast. Only
about 10% opt for a light breakfast of just toast.

We Americans join the British at the heavy breakfast end of
the spectrum with breakfasts of toast and eggs with
sausage, the ubiquitous sausage McMuffins or their copycat
sausage sandwiches from other fast food chains. Saturdays
and Sundays, when we really have time to eat even more,
will find us filling up on waffles or stacks of pancakes with
sides of bacon and of course eggs.


So how do these cultures compare in terms of
arteriosclerosis and heart disease?

The World Health Organization ranked the 26 most
developed countries in terms of rates of heart disease, from
worst to best. The UK ranked the 7th worst, with 122
deaths per 100,000 people.  The US ranked 13th worst
with 105 deaths per 100,000 people.

And which countries were the best? Japan, with only 30
deaths from heart disease for every 100,000 people and
close second, France, with only 39.8 deaths per 100,000
from heart disease.  

France was the best performing country in Europe. It has
less than one-third of the deaths by heart disease suffered
in the UK.

Clearly, if breakfast were the overwhelming factor in
whether you are likely to experience hardened arteries or
heart disease, the UK wold not have 3 times more deaths
from heart disease than France.


No, it is not a settled fact that eating a light breakfast sets
you up for blocked arteries. Just ask the French.



Or, for that matter ask the Japanese. The stereotype of a
Japanese breakfast is a tiny bit of fish with some rice and,
depending on the region, some fermented bean called
natto. That's not actually what most Japanese eat.
According to several surveys, Japanese often eat large
butter-slathered toasts, with a side of an egg and perhaps
ham.

Sound familiar? Yes, it's not that far off the British
breakfast. Yet, Japan and Britain sit at opposite ends of the
arteries/heart disease outcomes.

Further proof comes from Italy. The Italians also eat coffee
and bread for breakfast. Yet, they suffer 65.2 deaths out of
100, 000 people. This puts them about in the middle
between France and Britain.


In sum, if we arranged the performances of the countries
along a line we would see Japan, (best heart performance,
medium heavy breakfast), France (second best heart
performance, light breakfast), Italy (middle or road heart
disease performance, light breakfast and the UK (seventh
worst heart disease performance and the worst of the G7
countries, heavy breakfast eaters). There is no pattern
there.


All we can say is that, whatever factors are playing into
causing high heart disease and artery disease rates in some
countries and not others, the answer to the mystery is
probably not whether they eat breakfast.





























































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Eating breakfast like this? One
study says it helps lower your risk
for hardened arteries
.