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Skipping breakfast

Skipping breakfast is a matter of genes

Skipping breakfast is a matter of genes

A study by the universities of Harvard (Boston, United States) and Murcia, among other participants, has linked six variants in genes with skipping breakfast so, for the first time, a genetic component in this habit is demonstrated

This research, published on June 13 in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” has also determined that skipping breakfast is a cause of obesity and not a consequence.

The work is signed, among others, by scientists Hassan Dashti and Richa Saxena, from the Center for Genomic Medicine of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and by Marta Garaulet, Professor of Physiology at the University of Murcia and researcher at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of the University of Harvard.

Skipping breakfast

“There are conflicting studies on whether it is good or not to skip breakfast and that is why we consider in this investigation if there is a genetic component in people who have a hard time making the first meal of the day,” Garaulet told EFEsalud in a telephone conversation from Boston.

The study has sequenced the genome of almost 200,000 people registered in the Biobank of the United Kingdom, which has reflected the different genetic variants that are associated with the habit of breakfast, according to the expert in chronobiology, a science that studies biological rhythms.

The six independent genetic variants detected are associated with the circadian clock (the internal functioning of our organism and its schedules), with the metabolization of carbohydrates or sugars, with the influence of caffeine and even with schizophrenia.

The people analyzed show a range of presence of these genetic risk variables from zero to six, with those with a higher number being more likely to skip breakfast.

Skipping breakfast and obesity

In addition, the study observes causal links between the omission of genetically determined breakfast and a higher body mass index, tendency to depression and tobacco habit.

“Thanks to this study that defines which genes are involved and through a genetic methodology we can see that skipping breakfast is a cause of obesity, those who do not have breakfast are more likely to gain weight,” says Marta Garaulet.

The study in its conclusion suggests a beneficial role of regular breakfast intake as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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