Association of breakfast skipping with cardiovascular outcomes and cardiometabolic risk factors: an updated review of clinical evidence

Heitor O. Santos, Rafael Genario, Rodrigo C.O. Macedo, Manan Pareek, Grant M. Tinsley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” (Adelle Davis, 1904–1974) is a concept that appears to align with some contemporary evidence concerning the appropriate proportioning of daily meals. At the same time, with the popular and scientific dissemination of the concepts of intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding, well-controlled clinical trials have emerged showing the safety or even possible benefits of skipping breakfast. In this comprehensive literature review, we discuss recent evidence regarding breakfast intake, cardiovascular outcomes and cardiovascular risk markers. Overall, breakfast omission appears to be associated with a higher risk for atherosclerotic and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, caution should be employed when deciphering these data as many complex, unmeasured confounders may have contributed. Unfortunately, long-term randomized, clinical trials with detailed dietary control that have assessed clinical outcomes are sparse. Notwithstanding the observational findings, current trials conducted so far—albeit apparently smaller number—have shown that breakfast addition in subjects who do not habitually consume this meal may increase body weight, particularly fat mass, through caloric excess, whereas skipping breakfast may be a feasible strategy for some people aiming for calorie restriction. To date, definitive benefits of breakfast omission or consumption are not supported by the best evidence-based research, and the question of whether skipping breakfast per se is causally associated with cardiovascular outcomes remains unresolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-474
Number of pages9
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • clinical nutrition
  • intermittent fasting
  • skipping breakfast
  • time-restricted feeding


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of breakfast skipping with cardiovascular outcomes and cardiometabolic risk factors: an updated review of clinical evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this