Inspired living

A hearty breakfast


In yesterday’s news column we talked about the rush of life and the lack of ritual surrounding our food consumption. This is probably never more keenly seen than in the frenetic rush that is breakfast. After hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock three times you have dragged yourself out of bed 40 minutes later than intended leaving yourself time for no more than a quick shower, get dressed, then grab a quick coffee and piece of toast as you dash out the door. Does that sound familiar? If it is, then you might want to think about how you can restructure your morning routine because new research shows that eating a good breakfast is actually very good for your heart.

In the new study, Harvard researchers analysed food questionnaires completed by 26,900 males aged between 45 and 82 years. Each of the subjects was tracked for 16 years from 1992 to 2008. In the course of the study 1572 men had non-fatal heart attacks or died from a heart attack.

Analysis of the mountain of data collected found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27 per cent increase in risk of heart attack or death from heart attack when compared to men who ate breakfast.

The men who skipped breakfast tended to be younger, single, smokers, full-time workers and non-exercisers, who drink more alcohol. Additionally, when the researchers took out the effects of high blood pressure, high body mass index, high cholesterol and diabetes out of their calculations, the link between breakfast skipping and heart disease became insignificant. This suggests that skipping breakfast leads to these other risk factors for heart disease.

Additional to the effect of breakfast, there was also a link with late night eating and heart disease. Those men who ate late at night were found to be at a 55 per cent greater risk of heart disease.

What that all means is that it does not only matter what you eat but also when you eat it. No breakfast and then burgers before bed is just not a way to eat that will sustain your body in health in the long term. Language is no accident and the term “hearty breakfast” carries more truth than you might have thought.


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.