There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to whether or not you should grab a morning meal. Some people argue that eating breakfast is a waste of time. Others think breakfast is an important way to start the day, or even the single most vital meal of all. People who stay away from breakfast claim they aren’t hungry or it doesn’t matter, while those who chow down after the sun rises say it keeps them from eating too much during the day and helps keep the weight down.
A new study has come down on the side of the folks who believe it’s beneficial to eat breakfast, but not quite for the same reasons. The research, which appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, surveyed the diets and breakfast habits of men and women who didn’t have cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. Three distinct groups emerged: one group ate less than 5% of its total caloric intake at breakfast, another ate more than 20% in the morning, and a third group ended up between 5-20%.
Researchers discovered that risk of hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, was higher among both breakfast-skippers and in-betweeners. Those same groups were also found to have bigger waists and body mass, along with higher blood pressure and fasting glucose levels.
Translation: People who knocked down big breakfasts tended to have thinner waists, better blood pressure, and healthier cardiovascular systems.
“Aside from the direct association with cardiovascular risk factors, skipping breakfast might serve as a marker for a general unhealthy diet or lifestyle which in turn is associated with the development and progression of atherosclerosis,” said senior author Jose L. Peñalvo, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “Our findings are important for health professionals and might be used as a simple message for lifestyle-based interventions and public health strategies, as well as informing dietary recommendations and guidelines.”
That’s not to say you should truck through stacks of French toast and bacon at every breakfast—there are plenty of healthy breakfast ideas to choose from. And if you’re the kind of guy who’s constantly rushing out the door, then we have plenty of breakfasts that you can easily make in 60 seconds or less, or just meal prep at the beginning of your work week to save you time every morning.