A recent Harvard study says that skipping breakfast increases the heart attack risk by 27 percent. This is only the latest in a series of negative effects on the body, caused by not eating properly in the morning.

Skipping breakfast increases heart attack risk, study saysThe study, led by Eric Rimm and his research team at the Harvard School of Public Health, included only men over 45 years of age, but the side effects found in them can easily be transferred to younger categories and females, as well. The results were published on Monday, by the journal Circulation.

In the study, which was developed over a period of 20 years, 27,000 men with ages 45 and older were asked to give details on their eating habits. During the first interview, in 1992, 13 percent of the participants admitted to skipping breakfast. Over the next 20 years, 1.527 participants had fatal or non-fatal heart attacks. Of them 171 were of those skipping breakfast. A simple math exercise concludes that of those skipping breakfast, 7 percent had a heart attack. Of the others, 6 percent suffered from the same condition. This highlights a difference of 27 percent between the two groups, in the favor of those who ate breakfast regularly.

The exact mechanism that leads from A (skipping breakfast) to B (increased heart attack risk) isn’t clear. However, here’s the logic that the researchers believe to sustain it: when you wake up, your body starts to work at an increased rate from when you were asleep, burning more energy. Skipping breakfast equals not fueling it. As the energy level continues to be high and the resources drop, it doesn’t take long until they become so low that fueling is absolutely necessary. This “absolutely necessary” translates though hunger. But a wilder hunger feeling than you would have had if you have had breakfast. Ok. At this point the tendency is to eat a lot, to somehow compensate the fuel crisis detected by the brain earlier in the day. Eating large amounts of food forces the body to process a large number of calories in a short time, which will spike sugar levels and lead to clogged arteries.

“It’s a really simple message,” Rimm said. “Breakfast is an important meal.”