Skipping breakfast and eating a late dinner could lead to more serious outcomes after a heart attack, new research suggests.
Scientists found people who frequently bypassed brekkie and regularly ate dinner less than two hours before going to bed were far less likely to survive if they suffered a heart attack.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), found people with these particular two eating habits had a four to five times higher likelihood of death, another heart attack, or angina (chest pain) within 30 days after leaving hospital following a heart attack.
Researchers from São Paolo State University, Brazil, enrolled 113 patients, 73% of whom were men, with a mean age of 60.
All had experienced a particularly serious form of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Participants were asked about eating behaviours on admission to a coronary intensive care unit. Skipping breakfast was defined as nothing before lunch at least three times per week. Late-night dinner eating was defined as a meal within two hours before bedtime at least three times per week.
Skipping breakfast was observed in 58%, late-night dinner eating in 51%, and both behaviours in 41%.
Following the findings study author Dr Marcos Minicucci, of São Paolo State University recommended a minimum two hour interval between dinner and bedtime.
“It is said that the best way to live is to breakfast like a king,” he said. “A good breakfast is usually composed of dairy products (fat-free or low fat milk, yogurt and cheese), a carbohydrate (whole wheat bread, bagels, cereals), and whole fruits. It should have 15 to 35% of our total daily calorie intake.”
Dr Minicucci went on to say that previous studies have found that people who miss breakfast and have a late dinner are more likely to have other unhealthy habits such as smoking and low levels of physical activity.
“Our research shows that the two eating behaviours are independently linked with poorer outcomes after a heart attack, but having a cluster of bad habits will only make things worse,” he added.
“People who work late may be particularly susceptible to having a late supper and then not being hungry in the morning.
“We also think that the inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and endothelial function could be involved in the association between unhealthy eating behaviours and cardiovascular outcomes.”
The study results follows further research released last week which revealed that statins are not effective for around half of people taking them.
Researchers from Nottingham University analysed 165,000 patients on statins and found that for one in two, the drugs had too little effect on bad cholesterol, which is one of the big risk factors for heart disease.