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Study offers another reason to eat breakfast: preventing heart attack

| Monday, July 22, 2013, 5:54 p.m.

ATLANTA — Skipping breakfast may increase chances of a heart attack.

A study of older men found those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of a heart attack than those who ate a morning meal. There's no reason why the results wouldn't apply to other people, too, the Harvard researchers said.

Other studies have suggested a link between breakfast and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems called precursors to heart problems.

“But no studies looked at long-term risk of heart attack,” said Eric Rimm, one of the study authors at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Why would skipping breakfast be a heart attack risk?

Experts aren't certain, but here's what they think: People who don't eat breakfast are more likely to be hungrier later in the day and eat larger meals. Those meals mean the body must process a larger amount of calories in a shorter amount of time. That can spike sugar levels in the blood and perhaps lead to clogged arteries.

“We don't know whether it's the timing or content of breakfast that's important. It's probably both,” said Andrew Odegaard, a University of Minnesota researcher.

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