Thursday, July 25, 2013


If I am on a diet to lose weight, should I eat breakfast?  Interesting question. There are some of my patients who eat only one main meal a day, and that is likely to be dinner and some breakfast.

Well, a recent study by Dr Leak Cahill of the Harvard School of Public Health may help you answer. This interesting study was published in the July 22 issue of Circulation. The study is entitled, "Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals." 

Dr Leah and colleague reviewed data from the Health Professional Follow up Study.  This cohort comprised 27,000 healthcare professionals who were aged between 45-82 years and followed up fo 16 years. That is a long time. Over these 16 years of followup, 1,527 developed either a fatal MI or developed non-fatal heart disease.

When they separated those who took breakfast from those who choosed not too, they found that those who had no breakfast had a 27% increase incidence of suffering a primary event. Now this is significant, bearing in mind that this is a longitudinal trial and that the questionaire is reliable as these are healthcare professionals.

Is there a reasonable explanation? We know that not eating breakfast means that we are fasting almost 16 hours till lunch, and we know that this prolong fast is associated with increase levels of insulin, triglyceride and also LDL-cholesterol. Could it be that insulin is pro-atherogenic as believed by some quarters.

I have also made it a point to eat a simple breakfast. I hope that that slice of bread will keep my insulin levels in the normal range.

So you have been warned.

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