Photo: LIgorko (iStock)

Adding fuel to the idea that when you eat can be as important as what you eat, a new study in the European Journal Of Preventive Cardiology found people who combined two meal habits—skipping breakfast and having a late dinner—fare significantly worse after a heart attack. The European Society of Cardiology writes in Medical Xpress that those people “had a four to five times higher likelihood of death, another heart attack, or angina (chest pain) within 30 days after hospital discharge for heart attack.” The study was conducted on 113 people with an average age of 60; 73% of the participants were men.

The study notes people who favor the late dinner/early breakfast combo may have other poor habits, “such as smoking and low levels of physical activity,” which could also help account for that poor recovery rate. A late dinner may be tied to working late, for example, and could lead to not being hungry in the morning. Whereas someone who gets up and goes to the gym, say, would then probably be more likely to have a healthy breakfast.

Study author Dr. Marcos Minicucci, of São Paolo State University, Brazil, adheres to the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” concept, advising people to treat 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.” He also recommends at least a two-hour interval between dinner and bedtime.