By Michael A. Smith, MD
Nutrition experts have written volumes on the benefits of “breaking the fast” — benefits like a youthful metabolism, less body fat and improved energy levels throughout your day.
Now we can add something else to this growing list of health benefits: A lower risk of developing diabetes.
And when you consider that diabetes is an epidemic in this country, this is really good news.
Why? Because all of us can and should eat breakfast!
Preliminary Study Suggests Breakfast Cuts Diabetes RiskThe study results were first made public at the 72nd Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association by Dr. Andrew Odegaard, public health professor at the University of Minnesota. He refers to his study as preliminary, but believes the results should prompt doctors to educate all of their pre-diabetics to eat breakfast.
Dr. Odegaard’s 18-year population study included more than 5,000 men and women. None of the participants had type 2 diabetes when they entered the study. During the seventh year of the study, the participants completed diet questionnaires, including questions centered on daily eating habits. They answered questions like, “How many times a week do you eat breakfast?”
The results were pretty clear: People who reported eating breakfast everyday were less likely to be obese and to develop type 2 diabetes. Dr. Odegaard’s results showed that people who reported eating breakfast everyday were:
- 34% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- 43% less likely to become obese
- 40% less likely to develop belly fat
- 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- 25% less likely to become obese
Please note that since people who eat breakfast are also more likely to follow other healthy habits, this study within itself certainly is NOT conclusive.
Diet & Exercise Reign SupremeOne of your best defenses against type 2 diabetes is improved diet and exercise. Although the disease has a genetic component, many studies have shown that diet and exercise can prevent it — this was best shown by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Groups 2002 and 2003.
One study also showed that while some medications delay the development of diabetes, diet and exercise work better. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in body weight, produces a 58 percent reduction in the incidence of diabetes among people at risk.3
Could simply throwing breakfast into the mix result in millions of Americans leading a diabetes-free life? Possibly.
What’s your favorite healthy breakfast? Tell us in the comments below!
- WebMD was the source of our synopsis of the study. WebMD attended the scientific session and interviewed the authors. http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20120614/breakfast-diabetes-obesity
- 72nd Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association, Philadelphia, June 8-12, 2012. Andrew Odegaard, PhD, MPH, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis. Robert E. Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer, American Diabetes Association.
- Nutr Rev. 2003 Feb;61(2):76-9.
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