Skipping Breakfast Linked to Increased Atherosclerosi

Written by Uzhova I
Monday, 15 January 2018

Going without breakfast in the morning is associated with a substantially increased risk of developing subclinical atherosclerosis [1].

The findings provide support for previous reports suggesting dietary patterns can affect rates of cardiovascular events. In an analysis of an ongoing cohort study, they found that not eating breakfast in the morning was associated an approximately 75% increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis, while the risk of generalized atherosclerosis was more than doubled.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also showed that even people who ate a low-energy breakfast also had an increased risk of atherosclerosis vs. those who started their day with a heartier meal. Breakfast consumption is associated with factors such as satisfaction, early daily energy intake, metabolic efficiency, and early appetite regulation.

Researchers included male and female volunteers aged 40 to 54 years who were free of any cardiovascular events at baseline, examining lifestyle and multi-vascular imaging data alongside clinical covariates in a total of 4052 study participants. The individuals' usual diet was estimated using a questionnaire developed and validated for a previous population study, which asks about foods consumed in the past 15 days, taking into account eating occasions.

Using 2D ultrasound, they scanned for the presence of focal atherosclerotic disease in both carotid arteries, the infra-renal abdominal aorta, and both ilio-femoral arteries. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) was assessed using non-contrast 16-slice CT scanning, and a CAC score was calculated. Multivariate analysis taking into account age, sex, waist circumference, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, smoking, and red meat, alcohol, and salt intake indicated that breakfast skippers were significantly more likely than those who ate a high-energy breakfast to have subclinical atherosclerosis. Specifically, they were more likely to have plaques in the abdominal aorta, at an odds ratio of 1.79 (95% CI 1.16–2.77), in the carotid artery, at an odds ratio of 1.76 (95% CI 1.17–2.65) and in the ilio-femoral artery, at an odds ratio of 1.71 (95% CI 1.11–2.64).


Uzhova I, et al. The importance of breakfast in atherosclerosis disease. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017; 70:1831–1842. Abstract