Skipping meals: a false good idea?

Who has never skipped a meal during the day for reasons of schedule, economy or even voluntarily? If this is your case, this American study could now dissuade you from it: it reveals that eating only one meal a day is potentially linked to a higher risk of mortality.

The research covers 24,011 American adults over the age of 40 and concludes that skipping breakfast is associated with a higher risk of dying from a heart diseasewhile skipping lunch or dinner would be associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality.

The increased chance of dying could also be a consequence of eating meals too close together. This is what allows the epidemiologist Yangbo Sun to affirm that “sBased on these results, it is recommended to eat at least two to three meals, spread throughout the day».

30% of study participants claim to regularly eat less than three meals a day. It seems that the latter are more likely, according to the data, to be male, younger than the others, less educated and with a lower than average income. It also appears that skipping meals is more common among those who smoke, drink more alcoholsuffer from food insecurity and consume fewer calories overall.

For your health, eat at least three meals a day

Beware, however, of spurious correlations: this study does not establish a direct causal link between skipping meals and earlier death. It is not complete enough for that. However, it highlights that there is an association between these two phenomena that deserves further investigation. The research team has already tried to neutralize several lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption or food insecurity and has since adjusted its findings.

«Our results are based on observations drawn from public data and do not imply causalitysays the epidemiologist Wei Baofrom the University of Iowa. Nevertheless, what we observed has a metabolic meaning.»

What he means by “metabolic sense” is that skipping meals usually leads to taking in more calories at once, which can lead to imbalances in the way our bodies regulate glucose and thus lead to deterioration of the metabolic system.

«Our research provides much-needed evidence, conclue Wei Baoon the association between eating behaviors and mortality in the context of meal times and duration.What to question, possibly, all our beliefs in the benefits of intermittent fasting.

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