The researchers found that individuals with both of these detrimental eating habits were up to five times more prone to another heart attack, chest pain, or even death within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital after a heart attack.
The investigation was focused on 113 patients with an average age of 60 who had experienced a particularly serious form of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Among the study participants, 58 percent skipped breakfast, 51 percent ate late-night dinner, and 41 percent had both habits.
“One in ten patients with STEMI dies within a year, and nutrition is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to improve prognosis,” said study co-author Dr. Marcos Minicucci of São Paolo State University.
“It is said that the best way to live is to breakfast like a king. 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 noted that late-night dinner eating was defined by less than two hours between dinner and bedtime. Previous studies have found that people who miss breakfast and have a late dinner are more likely to have other unhealthy habits as well, such as smoking and low levels of physical activity.
“Our research shows that the two eating behaviors are independently linked with poorer outcomes after a heart attack, but having a cluster of bad habits will only make things worse,” said Dr. Minicucci. “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 behaviors and cardiovascular outcomes.”
The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.