These eating habits may increase your death risk

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In a study from The University of Tennessee, scientists found eating only one meal per day is linked to an increased risk of mortality in American adults 40 years old and older.

They found skipping breakfast is associated with higher risk of heart disease death and missing lunch or dinner with all-cause death.

Even in people who eat three meals daily, eating two adjacent meals less than or equal to 4.5 hours apart is linked to higher all-cause death risk.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from a cohort of more than 24,000 American adults 40 years old and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2014.

They found participants who skip breakfast are more likely to develop fatal heart diseases, while those who skip lunch or dinner increase their risk of death from all causes.

The team found a number of common characteristics among participants eating fewer than three meals per day (around 40% of respondents)—they are more likely to be younger, male, non-Hispanic Black, have less education and lower family income, smoke, drink more alcohol, be food insecure, and eat less nutritious food, more snacks, and less energy intake overall.

The team explained that skipping meals usually means ingesting a larger energy load at one time, which can aggravate the burden of blood sugar metabolism regulation and lead to subsequent metabolic deterioration.

This can also explain the association between a shorter meal interval and death, as a shorter time between meals would result in a larger energy load in the given period.

The research contributes much-needed evidence about the association between eating behaviors and mortality in the context of meal timing and duration of the daily prandial period.

Meal frequency, skipping, and intervals were not addressed by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans because the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee “was unable to find sufficient evidence on which to summarize the evidence between frequency of eating and health.”

Previous dietary studies and Dietary Guidelines for Americans have focused mainly on dietary components and food combinations.

If you care about health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how espresso coffee affects your cholesterol level, and results showing Vitamin C linked to lower risk of heart failure.

The study was conducted by Yangbo Sun et al and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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