Is breakfast consumption detrimental, unnecessary, or an opportunity for health promotion? A review of cardiometabolic outcomes and functional food choices

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2024 Feb;40(2):e3684. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3684. Epub 2023 Jul 3.


Breakfast consumption is generally considered a health-promoting habit for cardiometabolism, particularly with regard to chrononutrition. Glucose uptake is enhanced by proper insulin secretion triggered by the pancreatic clock, averting metabolic dysregulation related to insulin resistance. Breakfast skipping, in turn, is often considered a behaviour detrimental to health, in part due to putative inverse metabolic actions compared to breakfast consumption, such that breakfast skipping may promote circadian desynchrony. However, most ill health concerns about breakfast skipping are inferred from observational research, and recent well-controlled randomized clinical trials have shown benefits of breakfast skipping for cardiovascular risk factors. Accordingly, this review describes the effects of breakfast consumption versus breakfast skipping on cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure and glycaemic and lipid indices). In addition, the view of breakfast consumption as an opportunity for functional food ingestion is considered to provide further insights into decision-making practice. Collectively, both breakfast consumption and breakfast skipping can be considered viable habits, but they depend on individual preferences, planning, and the specific foods being consumed or omitted. When consumed, breakfast should consist primarily of functional foods typical for this meal (e.g., eggs, dairy products, nuts, fruits, whole grains, coffee, tea, etc.). While breakfast consumption aligns with chrononutrition principles, breakfast skipping can contribute to a calorie deficit over time, which has the potential for widespread cardiometabolic benefits for patients with overweight/obesity. The concepts and practical considerations discussed in the present review may aid health care personnel in personalising breakfast consumption recommendations for diverse patient populations.

Keywords: breakfast consumption; breakfast skipping; cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular events; intermittent fasting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breakfast* / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Functional Food
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Obesity / etiology