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-Best Type of Breakfast for Improving Reactions 2003-08-21

Posted by clype in Health, Science.

Children who shun traditional breakfasts in favour of quick snacks such as fizzy drinks and chocolate bars can be left with the reaction times of a 70-year-old, says new research.

Researchers studied the cognitive skills of a group of nine to 16-year-olds after they had eaten:

  • a complex carbohydrate meal, such as cereal, [and porridge]
  • a simple carbohydrate breakfast, like a glucose drink,
  • or no breakfast at all.

They found that those eating cereals performed better than those eating less traditional breakfast foods or no meal at all.

The researchers from Reading University tested 30 youngsters' attention and memory skills, such as recalling a sequence of numbers, over four mornings. They were assessed for speed and accuracy at four intervals during each morning. Split into four groups, one set of youngsters had a simple carbohydrate meal of a glucose drink, two groups had cereal and the last had no breakfast at all. Each group swapped breakfasts each day.

The study, to be published in the journal "Appetite", showed the children who had a simple carbohydrate meal were reacting at levels normally associated with someone of 70, three and a half hours after eating. Dr.Claire Pincock, of research group CDR, said:

'Everyone's cognitive function declines during the morning but we found that the rate of decline among kids who ate a complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast was only half of that seen among those who ate a simple carbohydrate breakfast'.

Johanna Hignett, a nutritionist with Cereal Partners UK, which funded the study, said:

'When we eat food we fuel our brain with energy.

'What this study shows is that a complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast provides a steady supply of energy which helps to maintain concentration levels until lunchtime'.

"Children who shun breakfast 'have slow reaction times'", Ananova 2003-08-21


1. Free Breakfast Trial for Pupils « Clipped News - 2006-09-26

[…] ‘Research has proven having a good breakfast sets youngsters up for the rest of the day and is good for concentration.’ […]

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