Older men who donâ€™t bother eating after they get up are a quarter more likely to have a heart attack or die from coronary disease than those who do, they found.
The researchers say missing a morning meal â€“ or eating very late at night â€“ may trigger changes in the bodyâ€™s metabolism that lead to coronary heart disease.
It may affect blood sugar and hormone levels that make heart disease more likely, they say.
In a study spanning 16 years, the US researchers tracked the health of 26,902 male health professionals aged 45 to 82 and asked them to complete a series of eating questionnaires.
Altogether 1,572 men had a first-time â€˜cardiac eventâ€™ during the period, according to the study reported in the medical journal Circulation.
Men who skipped breakfast were found to have a 27 per cent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than breakfast eaters.
Even after accounting for modest differences in lifestyle, the link persisted.