Good Breakfast, Less Screen Time May Boost Heart Health, Says Study
The role of lifestyle changes for primary prevention of heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases cannot be undermined. Small lifestyle changes, over a period, can make a lot of difference and pay rich dividends when it comes to heart health. In line with this hypothesis, people who spend less time watching TV and regularly eat a healthy breakfast may have a lower risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke, a new study suggests. 
 
This new two-part study is being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session on 16th March. The study found that those who watched TV for less time and ate a healthy breakfast showed significantly less plaque and stiffness in their arteries. These observations emphasise the benefits of lifestyles that incorporate balanced eating and less sedentary time. 
 
“Environmental and lifestyle factors are important but underestimated risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Sotirios Tsalamandris, a cardiologist at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece). He added that the study emphasises the many factors that impact heart disease and the need for holistic preventive approaches.  
 
Researchers assessed markers of heart health, along with a variety of environmental exposures and lifestyle factors, in 2,000 people living in Corinthia (Greece). Participants ranged from the ages of 40 to 99 years, with an average age of 63 years, and represented a broad spectrum of the general population. The group included healthy people as well as those with cardiovascular risk factors and established heart disease. 
 
Detailed questionnaires were used to assess participants’ physical activity levels and eating habits, while two non-invasive tests were used to assess the condition of participants’ arteries. The first test, carotid femoral pulse wave velocity, measured the speed of pressure waves that move along the arteries to detect stiffening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. The second test used ultrasound imaging to measure the thickness of the inner part of the arterial wall. Thickening of the arterial walls reflects plaque build-up and is associated with an increased risk of stroke.
 
In the first segment of the study, researchers divided participants into three groups according to the number of hours spent watching television or videos each week: a low amount (seven hours or fewer), a moderate amount (seven to 21 hours) or a high amount (more than 21 hours). After accounting for cardiovascular risk factors and heart disease status, researchers found those watching the most TV per week were almost twice as likely to have plaque build-up in the arteries compared with those watching the least. 
 
“Our results emphasize the importance of avoiding prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour,” Dr Tsalamandris said. “These findings suggest a clear message to hit the off button on your TV and abandon your sofa. Even activities of low energy expenditure, such as socialising with friends or housekeeping activities, may have a substantial benefit to your health compared to time spent sitting and watching TV.”
 
Researchers also concluded that watching more TV was associated with an increased risk of other cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Compared to those watching less than seven hours of TV per week, those watching more than 21 hours per week were 68% more likely to have high blood pressure and 50% more likely to have diabetes.
In the second part of the study, participants were divided into three groups based on how much of their daily caloric intake came from breakfast: high-energy (breakfast contributing more than 20% of daily calories), low-energy (5%-20% of daily calories) or skipped breakfast (less than 5% of daily calories). In total, about 240 people reported a high-energy breakfast; nearly 900 ate a low-energy breakfast; and about 680 skipped breakfast.
 
Breakfast foods commonly eaten by those in the high-energy group included milk, cheese, cereals, bread and honey. Breakfast for those in the low-energy group, typically, included coffee or low-fat milk along with bread & butter, honey, olives or fruit. Researchers found that those who ate a high-energy breakfast tended to have significantly healthier arteries than those who ate little or no breakfast. Even after accounting for cardiovascular risk factors, pulse wave velocity as well as arterial thickness were, on average, highest in those skipping breakfast and lowest in those eating a high-energy breakfast. 
 
“A high-energy breakfast should be part of a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Tsalamandris said. “Eating a breakfast constituting more than 20% of the total caloric intake may be of equal or even greater importance than a person’s specific dietary pattern, such as whether they follow the Mediterranean diet, a low-fat diet or other dietary pattern.”
However, Dr Tsalamandris also indicated that because most study participants followed a Mediterranean diet overall, it is unknown how the findings translate for people following different dietary patterns. 
 
It is important to note that this research was strictly observational and that the study does not prove cause & effect. The reason for the association between a high-energy breakfast and better heart health is unclear. However researchers have offered two possible explanations, based on previous studies. One is that people who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier food overall and have fewer unhealthy lifestyle patterns such as smoking and sedentary behaviour than those who skip breakfast. Another is that the specific breakfast foods consumed in the high-energy group, such as dairy products, may benefit heart health. The research team plans to continue tracking health outcomes in the participants for at least 10 years, with a primary focus on assessing potential impact of environmental exposures.
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User

    Study Finds Diet That Mimics Fasting May Help Those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) live with frequent, miserable episodes of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, rectal bleeding. Such people, often, find it difficult to find out which foods work best for them and those that do not. Interestingly, new research now suggests that keeping gut health in check might have less to do with the food one eats and more to do...
    Premium Content
    Monthly Digital Access

    Subscribe

    Already A Subscriber?
    Login
    Yearly Digital Access

    Subscribe

    Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MAS member?
    Login

    Yearly Subscriber Login

    Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
  • Most Effective Weight-loss Strategy, Takes only 15 Minutes a Day, Says Study
    When thinking about losing weight, one generally tends to imagine and be fearful about having to spend hours in the gym and depriving oneself of the foods one loves. To a certain extent, this does become necessary; however, new research has now shown that the best predictor of success in losing weight is self-monitoring and recording calorie and fat intake throughout the day. 
     
    According to researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina, the practice of self-monitoring a diet is generally viewed as unpleasant and time-consuming and, for this reason, many do not adopt it. For the study, researchers collated data from 142 participants who self-monitored their dietary intake, in an online behavioural weight-loss programme. 
     
    After six months of monitoring their dietary intake, the most successful participants in an online behavioural weight-loss programme spent an average of just 14.6 minutes per day on the activity. Programme participants recorded the calories and fat content for all foods and beverages they consumed, as well as the portion sizes and the preparation methods. This is the first study to quantify the amount of time that dietary self-monitoring actually takes for those who successfully lost weight and the results are soon going to be published in the March edition of the scientific journal Obesity.
     
    “People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take? The answer is: Not very much,” said Dr Jean Harvey, chair of the nutrition and food sciences department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study. For the study, Dr Harvey and her colleagues looked at the dietary self-monitoring habits of participants for a period of 24 weeks, where they met weekly for an online group session led by a trained dietician. 
     
    Additionally, participants also logged their daily food intake online. This process allowed for a record of how much time they spent on the activity and how often they logged in - information the researchers mined for the study. Those who lost 10% of their body weight - the most successful members of the group - spent an average of 23.2 minutes per day on self-monitoring in the first month of the programme. But, by the sixth month, this time had dropped down to 14.6 minutes. 
     
    Surprisingly, the most predictive factor of weight-loss success was not the time spent monitoring—those who took more time and included more details did not have better outcomes—but the frequency of log-ins, confirming the conclusions of earlier studies. “Those who self-monitored three or more times per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Dr Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference, not the time spent or the details included.” Explaining the decrease in time needed for self-monitoring over a period, Dr Harvey attributes it to the increasing efficiency in recording data and to the web programme’s progressive ability to complete words and phrases automatically after just a few letters were entered. 
     
    This study’s most important contribution, according to Dr Harvey, might be in helping prospective weight losers set behavioural targets. “We know people do better when they have the right expectations,” Dr Havey added. “We’ve been able to tell them that they should exercise 200 minutes per week. But when we asked them to write down all their foods, we could never say how long it would take. Now we can.”
     
    With online dietary monitoring apps like LoseIt, Calorie King and My Fitness Pal widely available, Dr Harvey hopes the results of the study will motivate more people to adopt dietary self-monitoring as a successful weight-loss strategy. 
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User

    We are listening!

    Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
      Loading...
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email

    BUY NOW

    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
    online financia advisory
    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
    financial magazines online
    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
    financial magazines in india
    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)