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Type 2 diabetes: Skipping this meal even once a week may increase your risk says study

Type 2 diabetes is a life-long condition that requires daily upkeep to prevent the condition from spiralling. The condition occurs when poor insulin production fails to control rising blood sugar levels. If left untreated, the condition can pose serious health risks including stroke and heart disease. Neglecting certain activities can greatly increase the risk of spiking blood sugar levels, including this important meal, finds study.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” – this was once the mantra in every household but over the years researchers have contested this popular wisdom, with some claiming it is no more than an old wives tale.

A review published in the Journal of Nutrition  adds further weight to the belief that it does in fact do the body good.

The study suggests that skipping breakfast just one day a week may raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by six percent.

Significantly, the study also found that missing the morning meal four to five days a week elevates that risk to 55 percent.

Sabrina Schlesinger, MSc, PhD, head of the junior research group Systematic Reviews at the German Diabetes-Center in Düsseldorf, and her colleagues analysed health information from six different observational studies representing more than 90,000 individuals. Of those, 4,935 people developed diabetes.

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The scientists discovered that diabetes risk rose for each day of the week that a person missed breakfast up until the fifth day, when the risk plateaued. The chance of getting type 2 diabetes was 32 percent greater overall for those who ever skipped breakfast compared with those who never skipped breakfast.

Study authors observed that body mass index (BMI) was only partially linked to higher diabetes risk in people who skipped breakfast.

BMI is a measure of body fat based on weight and height, and a BMI measure over 30 is considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Even after taking into account the BMI, skipping breakfast was associated with an increased risk of diabetes,” said Dr. Schlesinger in a press release.

Although she and her colleagues noted that obesity is a well-established risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and obese people are more likely to skip breakfast than those of normal weight, the results indicated that people of any weight who did not eat the morning meal still had higher likelihood of developing diabetes.

“This is important because most people think that breakfast skippers are always overweight or obese, and this could be the cause of increased risk for type 2 diabetes,” says Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Harvard Medical School’s Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This research shows that the relationship still exists even after adjusting for body weight.”

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Study authors point out that the elevated diabetes risk in breakfast skippers may be linked to other unhealthy behaviours.

Those who miss breakfast are more likely to smoke, be less inclined to exercise, and drink more alcohol, according to the report.

“People who skip breakfast also may end up eating more total calories throughout the day, which has been demonstrated in many studies,” says Jan Rystrom, RD, a diabetes educator at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, who was not involved in the investigation.

A diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain, and weight gain heightens your risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the according to the American Diabetes Association.

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