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How to live longer: Should you skip breakfast to promote longevity? Doctor weighs in – Express

Posted: December 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

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Attempts to lead a long and healthy life are often stymied by conflicting advice, particularly when it comes to nutrition. A new fault line has opened up in recent years around not so much what you should eat but when you should eat. Whether to eat or avoid breakfast has proven to be a particular flashpoint.

Having breakfast has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, obesity and cholesterol in some studies.

Despite these findings, Babylon GP Dr Sinan Mir tends not to promote breakfast in his dealings with clients.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he says: "I often encourage my clients, if they are breakfast neutral, to consider skipping it."

Dr Mir outlines six key reasons for this:

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Dr Mir does quality his advice, however. "We dont know enough to categorically recommend that people should have or skip breakfast."

He adds: "The most important thing is to not be dogmatic and remember, neither approach is inherently bad or harmful, but form part of a wider approach to nutrition and your health."

Studies offer conflicting results. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially stroke-related death.

After a person's age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had a 87 percent higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day, said Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and senior author of the study.

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However, as Harvard Health explains, a "plethora of intermittent fasting studies" suggest that extending the overnight fast is indeed associated with weight loss, but also more importantly, with improved metabolism.

"Overnight fasting of at least 16 hours (which really isnt that extended) allows blood sugar and insulin levels to decrease, so that fat stores can be used for energy," reports the health body.

This is significant because high blood sugar levels and poor insulin production is a feature of type 2 diabetes - a precursor to heart disease.

What's more, researchers from Melbourne, Australia reviewed seven studies looking at the effects of breakfast on weight change, and after an average study length of seven weeks, participants who ate breakfast gained 1.2 pounds compared to those who didnt.

The researchers also reviewed ten studies investigating the effects of breakfast on total daily calorie intake, and after an average study length of two weeks, participants who ate breakfast consumed 260 calories more than those who didnt.

These results fly in the face of the notion that skipping breakfast will cause people to binge later.

Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight - a key preventative measure against heart disease.

"Having a healthy weight reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure," notes the NHS.

What's more, regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, says the health body.

Exercising regularly also reduces your risk of having a heart attack.

"The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, benefits from exercise," explains the NHS.

Any aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing, makes your heart work harder and keeps it healthy.

Read more here:
How to live longer: Should you skip breakfast to promote longevity? Doctor weighs in - Express

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