Skipping Breakfast is Bad for You

(November 2013) Overweight women who skip breakfast increase their risk for diabetes, according to a study led by Elizabeth Thomas, MD, an instructor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine.

The findings, released in June at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Francisco, gained national attention. The study found that overweight women skipping the morning meal experienced insulin resistance.

Thomas and fellow researchers studied nine nondiabetic women, with an average age of 29, who were overweight or obese. The study took place on two days about a month apart. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either breakfast or no breakfast at the first visit and the opposite at the second visit. Four hours later, all subjects ate the same standardized lunch at each visit. They had blood samples taken every 30 minutes after lunch for three hours to test their insulin and glucose levels.

It is normal for glucose levels to rise after eating a meal, which then triggers insulin production. The researchers found, however, that the women’s insulin and glucose levels after lunch were significantly higher on the day they skipped breakfast than on the day when participants ate breakfast. The higher levels demonstrated acute insulin resistance because of skipping breakfast, according to Thomas.

“Eating a healthy breakfast is probably beneficial,” Thomas says. “It may not only help you control your weight but avoid diabetes.”

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