Skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease, according to a new study that sheds more light on the risks of missing meals in older adults.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at the relationships between meal frequency, skipping, and intervals and all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in American adults aged 40 and up.
American Adults At Risk of Dying If Regularly Skip Meals
Scientists from The University of Tennessee in the United States discovered that eating only one meal per day is linked to an increased risk of mortality in American adults.
They claim that skipping breakfast increases the risk of CVD mortality while skipping lunch or dinner increases the risk of all-cause mortality.
Even among those who ate three meals per day in the study, eating two adjacent meals less than or equal to 4.5 hours apart is associated with an increased risk of all-cause death, according to the researchers.
Scientists examined data from over 24,000 American adults aged 40 and older who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2014.
Importance Of Breakfast
Every two years, the ongoing survey collects a variety of health-related data from participants, including nutritional status, general health, disease history, and health behaviors.
The researchers determined the mortality status and cause of the 4,175 deaths identified in this group.
They discovered a number of common characteristics among those who ate fewer than three meals per day – roughly 40% of respondents.
According to scientists, they are more likely to be younger, male, non-Hispanic Black, have less education and lower family income, smoke, drink more alcohol, be food insecure, eat less nutritious food, more snacks, and have a lower overall energy intake.
Scientists claim that even though the results are observational and do not necessarily suggest a connection between the variables, they still make “metabolic sense.”
According to researchers, skipping meals usually results in consuming a higher energy load all at once. They explain how this can exacerbate the burden of glucose metabolism regulation in the body and lead to subsequent metabolic deterioration.
According to the researchers, the findings can also explain the link between a shorter meal interval and mortality because a shorter time between meals may result in a higher energy load in the given period.
Skipping meals can also have a negative impact on a person’s mental health and cognitive functions ranging from attention to problem-solving. Another Cambridge University Press study published in 2019 found that people who skipped meals were more likely to develop mood disorders. Missing a meal can cause a drop in blood sugar, which can lead to mood swings.