Breakfast: Maybe it is the most important meal...

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Elsewhere on the type 2 diabetes research front, a study has emerged that finds a link between consistently skipping breakfast and developing this disease.

In the current issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the results of a study that tracked 29,000 men for over 16 years showed that those who consistently skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than the participants who started their day with a meal.

While studies have long indicated that people who skip breakfast have a greater tendency to be overweight, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, the researchers in this study controlled for body mass index. One hypothesis, then, is that a morning meal helps to stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. Other studies have shown that consuming a greater proportion of calories later in the day is detrimental to blood sugar and insulin levels.

But ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan remains skeptical about the link between skipping breakfast and diabetes: How reliable is that statistical control for body mass index? she wonders. ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross has the same question, but he notes that the contours of the study 29,000 men over 16 years do at least make the correlation significant. The information we have does not allow us to reliably determine whether it s a tendency to eat breakfast, or other confounding factors such as being overweight, that really are risk factors for type 2 diabetes he says.