Avoiding breakfast and eating a late dinner may increase death risk as well as other cardiovascular-related issues, especially for heart attack survivors, suggests a new study. For the study, the researchers had 113 heart attack patients, having a median age of 60 years, who were questioned about their regular eating habits. All the participants suffered from a serious kind of heart attack, ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). The researchers defined skipping or avoiding breakfast as eating absolutely nothing before noon, apart from beverages like water and coffee, at least thrice in a week. On the other hand, they defined late dinner as having food 2 hours before hitting the bed at least thrice a week. The study revealed that 58 percent of the participants skipped their breakfast, 51 percent had late night dinner while 41 percent followed both of these eating habits.
The findings of the study showed that those who followed such unhealthy eating habits had 4 to 5 times increased death risk and chances of suffering another heart attack or chest pain (angina) within 30 days post getting discharged from the hospital.
As per Marcos Minicucci, study author from Sao Paolo State University, the study shows that both of these eating habits are associated independently with poor health outcomes right after a person survives a heart attack. He further warned that those who have long working hours might particularly be more prone to eating late dinner and later not feeling hungry following morning.
Although the study concentrates on the deadly health effects both these eating habits have, particularly on STEMI patients, the habit of skipping breakfast isn’t uncommon and exists even among the people who are healthy. A survey conducted in 2011 showed that 31 million people in America skip their breakfast every day. Several who enrolled in the survey said that being extremely busy, running late, time constraints and more were the reasons why they skipped breakfast.
According to Minicucci, a good breakfast should generally comprise of whole fruits, a carbohydrate like cereals, bagels, whole wheat bread and dairy products like yogurt, cheese. In ideal cases, breakfast should consist of about 15-35 percent of the overall daily calorie consumption of a person, he further said. To help improve the eating habits of people, Minicucci suggested eating healthy breakfast and maintaining a minimum interval of 2 hours between dinner and bedtime.
Notably, the study appears in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.