By Brittany Gatson
Whether you’re too busy, trying to lose weight or are just not genuinely hungry, there’s really no good reason to skip breakfast. In fact, new research has found that not eating breakfast may actually increase an overweight woman’s risk of getting diabetes.
When women skipped the morning meal, they experienced insulin resistance, a condition in which a person requires more insulin to bring their blood sugar into a normal range, explained lead researcher Dr. Elizabeth Thomas, an instructor of medicine at the University of Colorado.
This insulin resistance was short-term in the study, but when the condition is chronic, it is a risk factor for diabetes. “Eating a healthy breakfast is probably beneficial,” Thomas said. “It may not only help you control your weight but avoid diabetes.”
The new study included only nine women. Their average age was 29, and all were overweight or obese. Thomas measured their levels of insulin and blood sugar on two different days after the women ate lunch. On one day, they had eaten breakfast; on the other day, they had skipped it. The women’s insulin and glucose levels after lunch were much higher on the day they skipped breakfast than on the day they ate it. On the day they did not eat breakfast, Thomas explained, “they required a higher level of insulin to handle the same meal.”
So does this mean that you should stuff your face with pasta or donuts at 7 am? No, no, no! In fact, the diet consumed by the morning big-eaters, while effective for weight loss, leaves something to be desired. Certainly, it’s better balanced than the pastries-with-coffee option, which offers essentially no nutrients, no protein, and plenty of health-destroying bad fats and sugar. But the diet that led to weight loss contained no fruit or vegetables in the morning (although afternoon and evening meals had these elements), and also contained lots of dairy.
There are better ways to get a well-balanced morning slam without loading up on mucous-producing, allergy-inducing, immune-destroying, hormone-laden milk, cheese, nitrate-spiked breakfast meats, and buttered toast. Weight loss is important, but so is taking in foods that support your health. Diabetes is only one way to die.
The good news is that diabetes is often preventable, even once it has begun to take effect. Therefore, anyone who is overweight should begin exercising and eating a more nutritious, healthy balanced diet and exercising daily to shed excess pounds and remove two of the major diabetes risk factors right off the bat. And based on what can be taken away from the study, make sure to start each day with a healthy breakfast–that is a complete balanced meal that combines with the other meals that you eat during the day to provide 100% of your nutritional needs (protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins/minerals, phytochemicals, etc.). That means you want to consume approximately 33% of your requirements for everything at breakfast.
Where diseases such as diabetes are concerned, it is important to not be our own worst enemy. Other ways to reduce diabetes risk, according to the American Diabetes Association, are to control weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and to be physically active.