This post is co-authored by Jose Luis Prado, President, Quaker Foods and Snacks North America, PepsiCo //
Eating a healthy breakfast is a fundamental step in building a nutritious, total diet that meets the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A growing body of research supports eating breakfast regularly for heart health, lower body weight and improved overall diet quality. Breakfast consumers tend to have higher micronutrient intakes, partly because of the fortification of breakfast cereals, and have a better macronutrient profile than “breakfast skippers” (1). Studies in children suggest that breakfast eaters are more likely to meet daily nutrient intake guidelines compared with children who eat breakfast infrequently or skip breakfast (2).
Evidence suggests that regular breakfast consumers also have healthier body weights than those who skip breakfast (3). It has been suggested that skipping breakfast may lead to overall greater levels of hunger later in the day, which in turn may lead to overeating, particularly foods that are higher in energy density (4-6). Similarly, children who regularly eat breakfast tend to have a lower BMI and are less likely to be overweight than those who eat breakfast less frequently (7-10). Evidence in children also suggests that breakfast consumption may have generally positive effects on cognitive performance in comparison with breakfast omission (11).
Consequently, having a nutritious breakfast daily can benefit your overall health in numerous ways; besides fueling your body after the overnight fast, the perfect breakfast not only helps the body get the micro and macronutrients required for the day, it can also help reduce the mid-morning loss of energy, and may support your goals to manage cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Oatmeal is a good example – many studies conducted with Quaker Oats led the FDA to conclude that 3g of soluble fiber daily from oatmeal, in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Despite the evidence showing the important role breakfast can play in helping adults and children meet nutrition recommendations, only half consume breakfast daily. Quaker aims to be a part of the public-health solution by helping alleviate America’s breakfast deficit and hopes to advance the scientific understanding and definition of a healthy breakfast as requested by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s June 2010 report.
We are looking forward to collaborating with the scientific community in this area through research to address some key questions: What are the reasons people skip breakfast? Time can be a factor for many in our busy lives; do we design a breakfast with convenience in mind, or focus on behavioral strategies to help individuals return to the habit of a daily breakfast? There is also a perception that skipping breakfast can contribute to weight management despite all the evidence to the contrary. How do we change that perception to ensure breakfast becomes part of a weight management strategy? Are there technological breakthroughs and unlocks that would be game-changing for children and adults to enjoy breakfast?
- Timlin MT, Pereira MA. Breakfast frequency and quality in the etiology of adult obesity and chronic diseases. Nutr Rev 2007;65:268–81.
- Deshmukh-Taskar PR, Nicklas TA, O’Neil CE, Keast DR, Radcliffe JD, Cho S. The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 2006. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):869-78.
- Smith KJ, Gall SL, McNaughton SA, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Venn AJ. Skipping breakfast: longitudinal associations with cardiometabolic risk factors in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;92(6):1316-25. Epub 2010 Oct 6
- Nicklas TA, Bao W, Webber LS, Berenson GS. Breakfast consumptionaffects adequacy of total daily intake in children. J Am Diet Assoc 1993; 93:886–91.
- Sampson AE, Dixit S, Meyers AF, Houser R Jr. The nutritional impact of breakfast consumption on the diets of inner-city African-American elementary school children. J Natl Med Assoc 1995;87:195–202.
- Sjoberg A, Hallberg L, Hoglund D, Hulthen L. Meal pattern, food choice, nutrient intake and lifestyle factors in The Goteborg Adolescence Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003;57:1569–78.
- Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD (2005). Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc 105, 743–760; quiz 761-742.
- Utter J, Scragg R, Mhurchu CN, Schaaf D (2007). At-home breakfast consumption among New Zealand children: associations with body mass index and related nutrition behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc 107, 570–576.
- Croezen S, Visscher TL, Ter Bogt NC, Veling ML, Haveman-Nies A (2009). Skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity as risk factors for overweight and obesity in adolescents: results of the E-MOVO project. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 405–412.
- Timlin MT, Pereira MA, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D (2008). Breakfast eating and weight change in a 5-year prospective analysis of adolescents: Project EAT (Eating Among Teens). Pediatrics 121, e638–e645.
- Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutr Res Rev. 2009 Dec; 22(2):220-43. Epub.Review