Whether you can’t stomach food in the morning or you wake up excited to eat, there is no denying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There are plenty of studies that have proven that skipping breakfast can have detrimental health implications and many of them focus on the risk of weight gain if you choose to say no to your morning meal.
A new study, however, has taken the focus off of the whys and onto the hows. Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Hebrew University in Israel have found that skipping breakfast can impact the body’s internal clock, causing weight gain, regardless of what you eat for the rest of the day.
Your body’s internal clock or ‘clock genes’ regulate post-meal glucose and insulin and the team behind the research published in Diabetes Care studied the effect of breakfast on both healthy individuals and diabetics.
“Our study shows that breakfast consumption triggers the proper cyclic clock gene expression leading to improved glycaemic control,” lead author, Daniela Jakubowicz said.
“The circadian clock gene not only regulates the circadian changes of glucose metabolism, but also regulates our body weight, blood pressure, endothelial function and atherosclerosis.
“Proper meal timing — such as consuming breakfast before 9:30 AM — could lead to an improvement of the entire metabolism of the body, facilitate weight loss, and delay complications associated with Type 2 diabetes and other age-related disorders.”
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For the study, 18 healthy volunteers and 18 obese volunteers with diabetes took part in a test day featuring breakfast and lunch, and in a test day featuring only lunch.
On both occasions, researchers conducted blood tests on the participants to measure their postprandial clock gene expression, plasma glucose, insulin and intact glucagon-like peptide-1 (iGLP-1) and dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) plasma activity.
“Our study showed that breakfast consumption triggers the proper cyclic clock gene expression leading to improved glycemic control,” said Jakubowicz.
“In both healthy individuals and in diabetics, breakfast consumption acutely improved the expression of specific clock genes linked to more efficient weight loss, and was associated with improved glucose and insulin levels after lunch.”
However, on the days where participants skipped breakfast, the clock genes related to weight loss were reduced, leading to spikes in blood sugar and poor insulin responses for the duration of the day.
“The fact that we can change the gene’s expression in just four hours is very impressive,” said Jakubowicz.
Time to eat up.
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