Skipping Breakfast Linked To Diabetes In Overweight Women

Rebekah Eliason for — Your Universe Online

A new study finds skipping breakfast causes acute or rapid onset insulin resistance in overweight women. Chronic insulin resistance is a risk factor for diabetes suggesting that if breakfast is repeatedly omitted, it may contribute to an individual developing type 2 diabetes.

Elizabeth Thomas, MD, an endocrinology fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora explained, “Our study found that acute insulin resistance developed after only one day of skipping breakfast.”

When a person is in insulin resistance, they need more insulin to lower their glucose level, commonly referred to as blood sugar.

The study involved nine non-diabetic overweight or obese women with an average age of 29. On two different days approximately one month apart, subjects were randomly assigned to either receive breakfast or no breakfast on their first visit and the opposite for the second visit. After four hours, all participants received a standardized lunch with blood samples taken every thirty minutes for three hours following lunch.

It is a normal response for glucose levels to rise after eating which triggers insulin production. Researchers discovered when participants skipped breakfast their insulin levels were much greater than on the day they ate breakfast. According to Thomas, the heightened insulin levels are an indication of acute insulin resistance.

Thomas explained it was not clear if this “heightened metabolic response” was temporary or lasting, but it may contribute to the development of chronic insulin resistance. If insulin resistance is chronic, it leads to a buildup of sugar in the blood which may lead to prediabetes and diabetes.

“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,” Thomas said.

This study was funded by the Endocrine Fellows Foundation in Washington, DC, the National Institutes of Health and the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

Results of the study were presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.