There was a study in the news not long ago that suggested if you skip breakfast you're 27 percent more likely to have a fatal heart attack. But it was just an attention-grabbing headline. The actual write-in survey (not even a controlled study) said that men who report skipping breakfast are generally younger than those who do eat breakfast, are more likely to be smokers, unmarried, less physically active and drink more alcohol.
But for nonsmokers, moderate drinkers and regular exercisers of both genders, breakfast IS a smart - even essential - part of a healthy lifestyle. If you eat healthful foods and your timing is good, breakfast can help you burn fat and protect or help build muscles. And you stabilize your blood sugar levels after the all-night fast (no late-night eating; it's also not smart for heart health, weight control or blood sugar stability). Steady blood sugar levels may reduce your risk for cancer or reduce the fuel supply that makes cancers, such as prostate and breast, become more aggressive.
Unfortunately, about 34 percent of adults never eat breakfast, and 50 percent of middle-schoolers and 64 percent of high-school-age kids don't either. When you do, according to the USDA, you eat breads and bagels (22 percent); cold cereal (17 percent); and pastries (15 percent). The smarter choices are: high-fiber whole grains, fresh fruit, high-quality protein such as egg whites and low-fat dairy. Skip processed cereals loaded with added sugar and made from grain that isn't 100 percent whole.
© King Features Syndicate