Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Is your breakfast killing you slowly?


Some more interesting research came out of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress last week. Researchers in Toronto have found that eating two fast food breakfast sandwiches (equivalent to about 900 calories and 50 grams of fat) for breakfast decreased blood flow to participants arms by 20-30% in comparison to a day when participants had no breakfast. While the decreased blood flow was temporary, it suggests that regular consumption of high calorie, high fat foods may contribute to longterm arterial damage. This is definitely alarming but there are a couple of aspects of this study that bother me.

First, while I’m sure that some people are consuming breakfasts similar to the one used in the study, I doubt that many people are consuming such calorie and fat laden breakfasts on a regular basis. Just for reference: a bacon and egg mcmuffin from McDonald’s gives you 320 calories and 15 grams of fat. That’s considerably less than the amount used in the study. I wonder what results would have been seen with the consumption of just one breakfast sandwich. Second, the thing that bothers me most, is that the comparison was made between this calorific breakfast and no breakfast at all. Considering that us dietitians are always harping on the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day I would like to see the results from another group of participants who were fed a nutritious breakfast. Afterall, if the only comparison is no breakfast we have no way to tell what’s causing this change in blood flow. It’s entirely possible that it has nothing to do with the number of calories or the amount of fat or sodium. Perhaps this would be observed no matter what the food was that was being eaten.

This is certainly interesting research and I’m down with anything that discourages the consumption of unhealthy fast food breakfasts. However, I think that further research is definitely warranted before we can draw any real conclusions from this study.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

5 thoughts on “Is your breakfast killing you slowly?

  1. I posted a link to that article on my Facebook page, and the same discussion arose: wouldn’t eating anything divert blood flow to the stomach for digestion? You’re right, there needs to be a group of healthy-breakfast eaters in the study for it to have any meaning.

    That said, I also sit next to a guy who has a Tim Hortons breakfast bagel every morning, eats at least two bags of chips a day, and appears to get all of his exercise walking outside to have a cigarette. So yeah, some people _are_ eating this stuff every day.


  2. I know it is bad for me but that photo sure makes me hungry


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