Beware of skipping breakfast! This habit, in fact, in addition to not making you lose weight, increases the risk of anxiety, stress and depression, both in young people and in adults. This emerges from two recent scientific studies, the first published in the Journal of Nutritional Science by an Iranian team (Haghighatdoost et al, J Nutr Sci, 2021), the second in the journal PLoS One (Zhu et al, PLoS One, 2019).
Skipping breakfast increases the risk of depression in adults
The first research focused on a sample of 2,876 adults, between 19 and 79 years old. Analyzing the eating habits and the answers provided through a questionnaire about episodes of anxiety, stress and depression experienced by the volunteers, what emerged is that skipping breakfast increases the risk of psychological problems. Skipping breakfast is believed to increase cortisol, a hormone released when blood sugar drops. Cortisol, in turn, inhibits the release of serotonin which is a hormone that regulates mood and relieves anxiety and depression. Not only that, if, in addition to skipping breakfast, people also follow a diet with a high inflammatory index, therefore rich in refined carbohydrates, red meat, milk and dairy products, the risk of developing anxiety and depression increases even more.
Skipping breakfast in young people, the risks
The second research studied the eating habits and mental health status of 10174 young adults, average age 19 years. Again, skipping breakfast was found to be linked to an increased risk of developing anxiety and depression. Not only that, the study also showed that skipping breakfast was associated with increased body weight and fat accumulation.
Therefore, skipping breakfast is not a healthy habit, it has repercussions on body weight, which tends to increase, and on mood, paving the way for anxiety and depression. Not only that, another very recent study has also made it possible to state that skipping breakfast can worsen the condition of fatty liver, if present (Kim et al, Front Nutr, 2021). So, having breakfast is essential for the health of body and mind, but not just any breakfast. As the first research we talked about today shows, in fact, quality also matters. Therefore, it is important to choose for breakfast, but also for the other meals of the day, unrefined foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, fish, nuts and legumes.