Regular breakfast cereal eaters tend to be slimmer, yet a third of UK adults regularly miss breakfast
The association between breakfast cereal consumption and a lower body weight, as measured by body mass index (BMI), was strengthened today by a new systematic review published in the journal Nutrition Bulletin.
The review concludes that children and adults who eat breakfast cereals regularly tend to have a lower BMI and are less likely to be overweight. They also tend to put on less weight over time than those who don't eat breakfast regularly.
These findings are important as recent data shows that over a third of UK adults (23.5 million) and almost four million UK children miss breakfast regularly. This is in spite of nine out of 10 people of all ages claiming to understand the significant nutritional benefits of breakfast.
"From our analysis, it is evident that there is a clear relationship between regular breakfast cereal consumption and lower BMI. This relationship is seen across nearly all the studies examined. It suggests that eating breakfast cereals regularly in the morning can be one factor in helping you to maintain a healthy weight," says the study's first author, Anne de la Hunty, independent nutrition science consultant.
The systematic review included a total study population of 49,529 and included 10 studies, six of them conducted in adults and four in children.
The causal relationship between breakfast cereals and BMI was considered. No clear evidence exists to link breakfast cereal consumption and weight with lower energy intakes or higher energy expenditures. Lifestyle factors have been thought to play a role since regular breakfast cereal eaters tend to take more exercise and drink less alcohol than those who don't. Although these and other lifestyle factors were taken into account in a number of the studies, it is still possible that they can partly explain the overall result.