Study suggests adults miss key nutrients if they skip breakfast

Breakfast may actually be the most important meal of the day — or at least one of them.

A new study indicates adults who avoid the morning feast may miss out on important nutrients for the remainder of the day.

ExploreZinc: Possible high blood pressure treatment, study says

Ohio State University experts analyzed data from over 30,000 American adults. It showed that skipping breakfast leads to omitting calcium, vitamin C, fiber, vitamins and minerals found in milk, fruit and fortified cereals respectively.

“What we’re seeing is that if you don’t eat the foods that are commonly consumed at breakfast, you have a tendency not to eat them the rest of the day. So those common breakfast nutrients become a nutritional gap,” senior author Christopher Taylor, professor of medical dietetics in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Ohio State University, said in a press release.

Study results were published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

Taylor and the team used National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data for the study. They sampled 30,889 adults ages 19 and older who participated in the survey between 2005 and 2016. Data from the 24-hour dietary recalls each participant completed was analyzed.

ExploreHighly processed foods lead to greater child obesity risk, study finds

“During the recall, participants self-designate their eating occasions as a meal or a snack, and they tell you at what point in time they ate whatever food they report,” said first author Stephanie Fanelli, an Ohio State College of Medicine graduate student. “That’s how we determined whether someone was a breakfast eater or a breakfast skipper.”

Nearly 5,000 adults — 15.2% of participants — said they skipped breakfast.

Researchers translated measurements to nutrient estimates and MyPlate equivalents. Then, they compared the estimates to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies’ recommended nutrient intakes.

“We found those who skipped breakfast were significantly more likely not to meet the bottom threshold of what we hope to see people eat,” Fanelli said.

Results showed that those who skipped breakfast consumed fewer vitamins than those who ate breakfast. The most significant differences were for folate, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D.

According to Taylor, the findings help researchers “identify on any given day that this percentage of people are more likely to be skipping breakfast. And on that day, their dietary intake pattern showed that their consumption didn’t capture those extra nutrients that they have basically missed at breakfast.”