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Skipped, delayed breakfast implicated in mood disorders

16 Nov 2019

Unhealthy eating behaviours, such as delaying or skipping breakfast and eating higher proportions of food later in the day, are associated with a higher likelihood of a mood disorder among adults, a study suggests.

Researchers followed 1,304 individuals aged 26–36 years in 2004–2006 until age 31–41 years in 2009–2011. All participants reported 24-hour food and beverage intake. Principal components analysis was used to derive time-of-day eating patterns.

Three eating patterns emerged at each time-point, as follows: grazing (intake spread across the day), traditional (highest intakes reflected breakfast, lunch and dinner) and late (skipped/delayed breakfast with higher evening intakes).

During the 5-year follow-up, participants who scored in the highest intake tertile of the late pattern both at baseline and follow-up were more likely to have a mood disorder compared with those in the lowest intake tertile (prevalence ratio [PR], 2.04, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.20–3.48).

On the other hand, participants in the highest vs lowest intake tertile of the traditional pattern at both time points had a lower prevalence of first-onset mood disorder (PR, 0.31, 95 percent CI, 0.11–0.87).

In the same vein, individuals who were diagnosed with a mood disorder during follow-up were at greater odds of being in a higher late pattern score category at follow-up compared with those without the diagnosis (relative risk, 1.07, 95 percent CI, 1.00–1.14).

The researchers explained that the relationships observed in the study may be bidirectional and that preference for a later-in-the-day style of eating could be a biological or social trait that is implicated in, or predisposes an individual to, poorer mental health.

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Stephen Padilla, 06 Aug 2020
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