In the News: Breakfast Can Boost Your Metabolism, Hormonal Birth Control May Have Serious Risks, Air Pollution May Impact Bone Health

Breakfast can boost your metabolism. While there has been a great amount of evidence published supporting the benefits of breakfast, now the evidence is even stronger. In the study, published in the Journal of Physiology, researchers asked 49 people to either eat breakfast or fast until mid-day, every day for six weeks. Before and after the study, the researchers measured everyone’s metabolism, body composition, and cardiovascular and metabolic health. The findings suggest that eating breakfast every morning may help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease by increasing the activity of genes involved in fat burning. They also found that even if a morning meal increased a person’s total calorie consumption for the day, those calories might offset by other energy-burning benefits. However, while the participants in the study ate breakfasts high in carbohydrates, the researchers cannot say conclusively if other types of breakfasts (high-protein, high-fat, etc) would have the same effects. Researchers are also looking further into how breakfast interacts with other behaviors, such as regular exercise. On the go? Here are 20 breakfasts you can make in five minutes or less. (T)

Hormonal birth control may have serious risks. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers in Denmark report that women taking hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, the patch, the ring and hormonal IUDs, have up to triple the risk of suicide as women who have never taken hormonal birth control. Researchers analyzed a national study that tracked all women ages 15 and older who were living in Denmark from 1996-2013. They also looked at prescriptions filled for contraceptives, as well as deaths and causes of death, and compared women taking this type of birth control to women who did not have a history of contraceptive use. The risk of attempting suicide was nearly double that of women who’d never used birth control and triple that for suicide. However, don’t stop using contraceptives just yet —other scientists say the study may not have accounted for all of the potential differences in women who use contraceptives versus those who do not. For example, women using contraceptives are more likely to be in relationships, which might bring along more emotional challenges, especially in younger women. (T)

Air pollution may impact bone health. Investigators have analyzed data in a new study in Lancet Planetary Health looking at the relationship between air pollution and the risk for weakening bones. The analysis looked at two studies, one that tracked hospital admissions among nearly 10 million Medicare recipients in the Northeast over eight years. The other looked at levels of parathyroid hormone, which aids bone health, in 700 middle-aged low-income men in Boston. They found that the risk for bone fractures among people over 65 increased steadily as levels of air pollution went up. People living in locations with higher levels of air pollution, especially middle-aged men, were also found to have had lower levels of bone mineral density. The researchers compare these results to secondhand smoke, detailing that the ill effects of smoking, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and bone mineral density loss, can also be caused by air pollution. Want to boost your bone health? Try these foods. (NYT)