Skipping Breakfast Linked With Acute Insulin Resistance In Overweight Women: Study

06/19/2013 08:32 am ET

Here's another reason to make sure you eat that morning meal. Skipping breakfast could temporarily induce insulin resistance in overweight women, according to a small new study.

The findings are important because chronically experiencing these episodes of acute insulin resistance is considered a diabetes risk factor, researchers said. Insulin resistance is a condition where cells in the body don't respond properly to typical amounts of insulin being released to help the cells take in sugar in the blood. When this occurs, the body must produce even more insulin -- which can in turn lead to diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

"This information should help health care providers in counseling patients as to why it is better to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast than to skip breakfast," study researcher Elizabeth Thomas, M.D., an endocrinology fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said in a statement.

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, so they should be regarded as preliminary.

The study included nine women who didn't have diabetes who were all overweight or obese, with an average age of 29. Researchers had the study participants come in for testing on one day, and then on another day a month later. For one of the days, they had the participants eat breakfast and then lunch four hours later; then they took blood samples for every 30 minutes after they ate lunch, for three hours. On the other day, researchers had the participants skip breakfast but still eat lunch; then they took blood samples at the same time intervals.

Researchers found that the blood samples from women who skipped breakfast had higher insulin and blood sugar levels after eating lunch, compared with the women who ate breakfast. They noted that this was a sign of acute insulin resistance, attributed to skipping breakfast.

The findings have an impact on a large swath of the United States -- according to a 2011 survey, 31 million Americans skip breakfast, which is about 10 percent of the population. Men ages 18 to 34 are the most likely demographic to skip breakfast, while women ages 55 and older are the least likely demographic to skip breakfast, HuffPost Food reported.

There could be other repercussions to skipping breakfast, too. A study presented last year at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience showed that not eating breakfast could amp up brain activation in response to high-calorie foods, compared with when a person has eaten breakfast.

For more reasons to make sure you get that morning meal, click through the slideshow:

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