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By Karen Alexander

Oncology Wellness Specialist on 07/14/2017

How skipping breakfast can affect your health

With our busy days and tight schedules, many people find themselves adopting unhealthy eating patterns. We have time for everything but eating – and if we do eat something, chances are that it is going to be something on the go. Based on a national survey, approximately one quarter of American adults skip breakfast and about half of young adults report that they are “too rushed in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast”. Predictors of skipping breakfast include younger age, current tobacco use, eating a late dinner, high alcohol consumption, high daily energy intake, and infrequent exercise.

Interestingly, the decline in breakfast consumption has paralleled the increase in obesity. Studies show that children and adolescents who skip their morning meal have higher body fat than those who eat breakfast. This can put them at higher risk for chronic diseases like cancer and Type 2 diabetes later in life. In general, skipping breakfast has been associated with negative health outcomes such as obesity, lower metabolism, lower dietary quality scores, insulin insensitivity and diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality. Below are some examples of how skipping breakfast may affect your health:

Some studies have found that people who eat breakfast have lower overall dietary fat and caloric intake, as well as lower BMI and body fat. However, other studies have found the patients have a compensatory mechanism and start eating more over the course of the day. Results seem to be affected by age, culture, physical activity, among other factors.

Lower Metabolism
People who skip breakfast have a lower metabolism, demonstrated by lower body temperature and lower consumption of oxygen while resting.

Lower Dietary Quality Scores
According to studies, people who skip breakfast are less likely to meet the recommendations for daily intake of vitamin and minerals. Breakfast eaters are more likely to consume large amounts
of fiber and lower amounts of fat and sugar than those who don’t eat breakfast.

Insulin Sensitivity and Diabetes
Sustained daily breakfast omission may affect insulin sensitivity in healthy and obese individuals. Breakfast consumption helps to maintain insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in lean individuals, and a big breakfast rich in protein and fat improves glycemic control in those with Type 2 diabetes. Skipping breakfast has been associated with poor glucose control, and according to the Nurses’ Health Study, skipping breakfast even once per week is associated with a 21% higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular Diseases
Some studies have found that men who reported usually skipping breakfast have a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as higher risk for a hemorrhagic stroke, compared with men who did not skip breakfast after adjustment for age, demographic factors, and dietary and lifestyle factors.

A recent Japanese study showed an association between skipping breakfast and increased risk of mortality from circulatory diseases, for both men and women.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a healthy and balanced breakfast must include one third or less of the plate of animal protein and two thirds or more from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.

The weekly recipe comes from the AICR:  Egg and Roasted Red Pepper Wrap


1 large red bell pepper, halved and seeded

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and thyme

1 large egg

1 large egg white

Olive oil cooking spray

2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/8 tsp. salsa, or to taste

1 low-fat whole-wheat wrap


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place pepper cut side down on foil-covered baking sheet. Bake until skin is puffed and blistered, 20-30 minutes. Transfer pepper to bowl, cover with plate, and let steam for 20 minutes. Pull off skin from pepper, using your fingers or small knife.

Place pepper on plate. Sprinkle with salt and dried herbs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

In bowl, whisk egg and egg white together until well blended. Coat 8-inch skillet with cooking spray, and set over medium-high heat. Add egg, tilting to coat bottom of pan, and cook until egg is set, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle on cheese and parsley, and cook until surface of omelet looks dull, 2-3 minutes. Slide flat omelet onto plate and set aside.

In small bowl, combine ricotta and salsa. Pat the roasted pepper dry using a paper towel and cut into very thin strips.

Spread the ricotta mixture over wrap, leaving 1/2-inch uncovered around edges. Slide omelet onto wrap, positioning it near one end. With the narrow end of the wrap toward you, arrange 8-10 pepper strips horizontally on top of the egg. Starting at the end nearest you, tightly roll up the wrap. Cut diagonally into 3 pieces and serve immediately.

Makes 1 Serving
Per serving: 330 calories, 11 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 420 mg sodium

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