Watch CBS News

Meal Timing, Frequency May Play Role In Preventing Heart Disease; Report Claims

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- You've probably heard it from your mother for years -- breakfast is the most important meal of the day -- well it turns out mom was right.

Breakfast is important because of what it does for heart health.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explained, what we eat can affect our heart -- less salt, trans and saturated fats, more fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.

A new report found that when we eat is also important.

Skipping breakfast, when we're just getting active and haven't had any fuel for hours alters our internal body clock.

Elana Alonzo makes time for breakfast after years of skipping it.

"I always thought I was not hungry and now I realize how much energy this actually gives me," she said.

A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association suggested eating more of your calories earlier in the day may do more than just provide morning energy.

"People who consume breakfast on a regular basis have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease," Dr. Marie Pierre St. Onge, Columbia University Medical Center, explained.

Dr. Pierre St. Onge said studies show eating earlier, when your body can better metabolize food -- may lower heart disease risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Spreading calories across smaller meals also seems to benefit the heart.

Dr. St. Onge said to plan meals and to avoid eating because of stress, boredom, or fatigue.

"Consume a balanced diet -- obviously, but if this can be done in the context of more frequent meals during the waking hours, not so close to bedtime, and earlier in the day, that would be ideal," she said.

That should start with a healthy breakfast.

"If we don't ritualize something it's really easy for it to all fall away," Alonzo said.

The studies that link breakfast and eating smaller, more frequent meals earlier in the day are known as association studies -- they don't prove cause and effect.

The Heart Association said more research is needed into how and why meal timing seems to impact heart health.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.