The importance of breakfast in atherosclerosis

3D imaging of blood cells with plaque build-up of cholesterol Symbol for vascular disease

Symptoms: Woke up too late, spent too long in the bathroom, or just didn't want to miss the train to work! Diagnosis: No breakfast in the morning - we all know it. But the renunciation is to be enjoyed with caution, because the study recently published in the American College of Cardiology has been able to explore a clear link between breakfast intake and atherosclerosis.

3D imaging of blood cells with plaque build-up of cholesterol Symbol for vascular disease / jijomathaidesigners

Definition: Arteriosclerosis

Over time, deposits of lipid metabolites and calcifications can form on the walls of blood vessels. In principle, this change in the vascular system can occur in all vascular segments of the body. Arteriosclerosis is therefore also described as a progressive vascular disease. The consequences can be constriction and also formation of blood clots up to stroke.

What was studied:

The PESA (Progression and Early detection of Subclinical Atherosclerosis) study, conducted in Spain, investigated the association between different breakfast habits and cardiovascular risk factors, as well as the presence, distribution and extent of atherosclerosis.

4,052 female (35%) and male (65%) volunteers aged 40-54 years were enrolled in the study if they were free of cardiovascular or chronic kidney disease at baseline, were not actively being treated for cancer, had no prior transplants, and had no diseases that could reduce life expectancy to 6 years. All study participants were employees of Santander bank in Madrid.

Results of the study:

Three patterns of breakfast consumption were studied:

- (27% of participants) High-energy breakfast, which contributes to more than 20% of total daily energy consumption.

- (70% of participants) Low-energy breakfast when it contributes to 5-20% of total daily energy expenditure.

- (3% of participants) Forgoing breakfast if it is used for less than 5% of total daily energy expenditure. According to the study, this includes taking coffee, coffee with milk, or other non-alcoholic beverages as a "meal."

Diagram showing the relationship between breakfast and atherosclerosis. The x-axis indicates the type of breakfast, the y-axis the percentage of study participants in whom atherosclerosis was detected.

/ Danilo Glisic

In the study group without breakfast, non-coronary arteriosclerosis was detected in 72.8%. (Arteriosclerosis was documented at 4-6 different sites in 29.2%).

The study group with low-energy breakfast recorded arteriosclerosis in 62%. (Arteriosclerosis at 4-6 different sites was documented in 14.1%).

The study group without breakfast: arteriosclerosis detected in 54.8%. (Arteriosclerosis at 4-6 different sites in 10%).


Regardless of the presence of classic cardiovascular risk factors, skipping a high-energy breakfast (just like lack of sleep) is associated with an increased likelihood of non-coronary atherosclerosis.

So consuming a balanced and nutritious breakfast has a positive effect on health (and cardiovascular disease risk profile) and therefore, just like getting enough sleep, it's better not to neglect it.



Danilo Glisic

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