Dr. Elizabeth A Thomas of the University of Colorado at Aurora presented her findings at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society last weekend.
In a randomized crossover trial, Thomas found that skipping "the most important meal of the day" for just one day triggered acute insulin resistance and elevated levels of free fatty acids in nine obese, nondiabetic women, compared with a day on which they ate breakfast, Family Practice News reports.
In her abstract, Thomas adds that "Breakfast skipping has been associated with higher BMI and metabolic derangements."
All of the study participants, who averaged 29 years old, ate a standardized dinner the night before the study day. Fasting laboratory measures were taken the morning of the study day. Four hours later, the participants were given a standardized lunch. The investigators took blood samples every 30 minutes after lunch for three hours, and later gave them a standardized dinner.
Interestingly, levels of insulin and glucose did not differ significantly between groups before lunch. But insulin and glucose levels were significantly higher after lunch and remained elevated on the days that the women skipped breakfast, representing acute insulin resistance.
In addition, the level of free fatty acids after lunch was higher on the no-breakfast days.
Previous studies have found associations between breakfast skipping and greater weight gain and risk for type 2 diabetes, but most of these were small studies focused on lean subjects, and none have shown a causal relationship, Thomas said.
All but one of the women in the study said they regularly eat breakfast. Thomas hopes to expand the study to 20 women and to include more women who habitually skip breakfast, as well as to control for exercise.
About 10%-20% of Americans routinely skip breakfast, she said.
The study was funded by the Endocrine Fellows Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center.
Might we recommend our 3rd Annual Pancake Breakfast? For your health, of course.