Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2017 Contents B26 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Thursday, January 12, 2017
The idea that breakfast is the most important
meal of the day may not be true as it has never
been scientifically proven, a nutrition expert
Breakfast is commonly viewed as a vital meal which
is needed to rev up the metabolism and ensure the
body and mind can face the day. However, this view is
likely spurred on by powerful advertising campaigns
as there is insufficient scientific evidence to back it up,
according to Dr James Betts of the University of Bath.
Dr Betts, an expert in nutrition and the metabolism,
told New Scientist magazine that although the ben-
efits of eating breakfast seem "logical"
, studies used
to argue this case are based on observational studies.
This type of study involves a researcher studying a
participant's existing behaviour rather than assigning
them a medicine or activity.
Dr Betts said he was "amazed" to find that there
was little evidence to strongly suggest that breakfast
greatly benefits a person's health.
Earlier this year, Dr Betts published a study in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which showed
that eating breakfast could encourage obese people to
exercise more. The study found that subjects who ate
breakfast did not lose weight, but were more likely to
be physically active in the morning and eat less later
in the day. The detailed small-scale study involved
70 people, and focused on 23 participants.
At the time, Dr Betts said that breakfast has been
associated with exercising more and controlling blood
sugar levels throughout the day.
But regarding weight loss he said: "Based on current
evidence, having breakfast in itself is not going to
make you lose weight and skipping breakfast in itself
is not going to make you gain weight."
He added that as the population tends to lead more
sedentary lifestyles than in previous decades, break-
fast may be less important than it was, but attitudes
towards the meal have stayed the same.
He went on that to say that eating "undoubtedly"
helps if a person's performance is important, for ex-
ample if they are having an interview, exam or taking
part in a sporting activity.
In addition, he said consuming breakfast could
cause a person to eat more later in the day, but that it
is unlikely they will make up for the calories "missed"
at breakfast. (The Independent, UK)
A government policy to reduce salt intake by
ten per cent over ten years would be highly cost
effective in nearly every country in the world,
even without accounting for healthcare savings,
finds a study published by The BMJ on Tuesday
The researchers say that this low cost policy com-
bining targeted industry agreements and public
education to reduce salt intake is a "best buy" for
governments around the world.
Most adults exceed the World Health Organization
recommended maximum salt intake of 2g per day,
resulting in an estimated 1,648,000 annual deaths
from heart diseases worldwide.
Previous studies in selected countries show that
national policies to reduce excess salt intake can be
highly cost effective for lowering blood pressure and
reducing heart disease. But for most countries, the
cost effectiveness of such a policy is unknown.
So a team of US and UK based researchers led by
Tufts University in Boston, set out to measure the cost
effectiveness of a "soft regulation" strategy combining
targeted industry agreements and public education
to reduce salt intake by 10 per cent over 10 years in
To account for differences, they modelled the costs
and health effects of a range of salt reductions by age
and sex within each country.
They then estimated the number of disability-ad-
justed life years or DALYs (a measure of years lost due
to ill-health) that would be averted by the policy in
each country for each year between 2011 and 2020.
Programme costs for each country were estimat-
ed in international dollars or I$ (equivalent to the
country's purchasing power of US dollars). Poten-
tial healthcare savings from averted events were not
evaluated to provide conservative estimates.
The results show that worldwide, a ten per cent
reduction in salt consumption over ten years within
each country was projected to avert approximately
5.8 million DALYs per year related to cardiovascular
diseases, at a population weighted average cost of
I$1.13 per person over the ten year intervention. (BMJ)
really the most
of the day? The
jury's still out.
Is breakfast overrated?
Low cost salt
reduction would save
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