Breakfast and Diabetes

September 04, 2014

The number of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed within the last 20 years. Recently, the journal Diabetes Care referred to type 2 diabetes an "emerging epidemic." This week, new research by scientists at Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow and St George’s London universities has found that children who regularly skip breakfast are at significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes.  The study, published September 2nd in PLOS Medicine, followed the breakfast habits of more than four thousand students aged nine and ten. For the study, children were asked how often they ate breakfast; approximately half of the children also children also completed a 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire. The researchers measured body composition of the study participants and levels of insulin, glucose, and other markers of diabetes risk in blood samples taken from the children 8 to 10 hours after their last meal or drink. The study found that:
  • 74% had breakfast every day
  • 11% usually had breakfast
  • 9% at breakfast sometimes
  • 6% did not eat breakfast
Researchers found that children who usually skipped breakfast had 26.4% higher levels of insulin in their blood after fasting than those who said they ate breakfast every day. They also had 26.7% higher insulin resistance. Additionally, the study found that children who ate a high fiber, cereal-based breakfast had lower insulin resistance than children who ate low fiber or toast-based breakfasts. An earlier study was conducted by University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers and published in the in the June, 2013 online version of Diabetes Care focused on young adults and also found that eating a daily breakfast reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In that study, researchers analyzed data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study and followed up on 3,598 participants who did not have type 2 diabetes when breakfast habits were assessed. The study of young adults found that:
  • 43.2 percent of participants at breakfast 0-3 days per week
  • 21.7 percent ate breakfast 4 to 6 days per week
  • 35.1 had breakfast every day
The study found that frequent breakfast eaters had a significantly lower risk of abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertenstion and type 2 diabetes that frequent or infrequent breakfast eaters while frequent breakfast eaters had a significantly lower risk of the same health issues that infrequent breakfast eaters. Eat your breakfast! It's true ... breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

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