Not taking breakfast doubles the risk of atherosclerosis


According to a study conducted by the National Cardiovascular Research Center Carlos III (CNIC), in partnership with Banco Santander, published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology, this is a problem independent of usual risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol or even the sedentary lifestyle.

For the study, more than 4,000 middle-aged people were observed using advanced imaging technologies. All this for six years, aiming at characterizing the prevalence and progression of latent and subclinical atherosclerotic lesions.

In the study entitled “Progression and Early Detection of Atherosclerosis”, the relationship between three breakfast patterns and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques (fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries) in asymptomatic individuals was analyzed.

According to the researchers, of whom the leader Valentín Fuster, director general of the CNIC, the analysis of images determined the presence of plaques in distinct vascular territories, that is, the carotid and femoral arteries, the aorta and the coronary arteries.

The same images revealed 1.5 times more atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries of participants who ate less than 5% of the Recommended Daily Intake of Calories (two thousand calories), compared to participants who ate an energy-rich breakfast 20% of the recommended daily dose).

In some vascular regions, the number of plaques was up to 2.5 times higher in people who did not take or simply ate too little at breakfast. However, these differences, as explained by Irina Uzhova, one of the authors, are independent of the presence of cardiovascular risk factors and unhealthy eating habits.

The results also suggest that, skip breakfast, is an indicator of unhealthy lifestyle habits by norm associated with a higher prevalence of generalized atherosclerosis.

José Luis Peñalvo, co-author, notes that this is the first study that provides direct clues to an association between different breakfast patterns and the presence of atherosclerotic lesions, captured by vascular ultrasonography.