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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths in the world. There are several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including smoking, lack of exercise, family history and dietary habits. The diet habits including your breakfast style can significantly change your risk of plaque build in arteries of the heart and other blood vessels of your heart.

According to the study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, skipping breakfast can significantly increase your risk of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis). Some previous studies have shown that skipping breakfast increase risk of obesity, Diabetesand bad cholesterol and heart disease. This is the first study to look at risk of skipping breakfast and early stages of atherosclerosis.

The Study

The study included approximately 4000 men and women between 40 and 54 years of age from Spain. The computerized questionnaire was used to collect data. The breakfast meal was considered the first meal eaten within 2 hours of walking and no later than 10 am. Three major groups were identified based on calorie consumption in the first meal:

  • Skipping Breakfast:  People who consumed only coffee, water or juice would have consumed less than 125Kcal/day or 5% of the total intake.
  • Low Energy breakfast: People who consumed between 5% and 20% of the calories
  • Breakfast consumers: People who consumed more than 20% of their daily intake in the morning.

How were clogged arteries assessed

Plaque was assessed in multiple arteries including carotid arteries, arteries of the abdomen and legs with Ultrasound. Calcium score was measured to assesse atherosclerosis in heart arteries.


Eating a healthy high energy breakfast has shown reduction in fasting glucose, insulin and ghrelin (hunger hormone) which has been shown to have beneficial impact on appetite. Breakfast skippers are more likely to have unhealthy lifestyle, smoking habit, obesity, Hypertension.

Risk of atherosclerosis or Clogged arteries was highest in people who skipped breakfast, followed by low Breakfast consumers and lowest in high energy breakfast consumers.

To be sure you're eating the healthiest food for breakfast, be sure to check out our last article on the best foods to eat for a healthy life


  • The Importance of Breakfast in Atherosclerosis Disease. Insights From the PESA Study. JACC October 2017
  • Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;135: e96-e121
  • Ghrelin response to carbohydrate-enriched breakfast is related to insulin. Am J Clin Nutr 81:367–375.

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