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Do you think cold cereal is really better then a hot breakfast?

Posted by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM
  • 13 Replies

Cold Cereal Might Beat a Hot Breakfast

You needn't feel guilty if you don't cook hot breakfasts for your kids. In a recent large study of children that compared breakfast-skippers, cereal eaters, and kids who had "other" breakfasts, the cereal-eaters came out on top for healthiest diets.

Regardless of whether their breakfasts were relatively high or low in sugar, the cereal eaters did not consume more than the daily recommended amount.

The breakfast skippers, on the other hand, got more of their daily energy from "added sugars" than breakfast eaters and ended up with less fiber, fewer nutrients, and the smallest percent of their daily energy provided by protein.

They also ended up with larger waists and a higher BMI (body mass index) than their breakfast-eating counterparts, on average.

Skipping breakfast not only starts the day off on the wrong foot nutritionally, but can set kids up for tough health challenges in years to come, the researchers say in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Larger waist size, for example, is a risk factor for diabetes, even in children and adolescents.

Ready-to-eat cereals sometimes get a bum rap because some of them have high sugar contents, study co-author Carol O'Neil, of Louisiana State University, told Reuters Health. But "many are high in nutrients, vitamin fortified, made with whole grains, with fiber added," she said.

Twenty-two percent of breakfast skippers were obese, compared to just under 20 percent of the "other breakfast" eaters and 15 percent of the cereal eaters.

The researchers analyzed everything the kids ate over a 24-hour period. While they didn't specifically calculate how much of total daily nutrients came from breakfast, they found that kids who ate ready-to-eat cereals had "more favorable nutrient intake profiles" and healthier weights than either the breakfast skippers or kids who ate "other breakfasts."

O'Neil and her colleagues studied nearly 10 thousand kids between the ages of 9 and 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2006.

They found that 20 percent of children between the ages of 9 and 13, and nearly a third of kids from 14 to 18, were skipping breakfast.

The number of kids who ate breakfast began to drop off as children got older, and by the time they were in high school, nearly a third were skipping breakfast.

A third of older girls skipped breakfast, the authors found. "Ironically, one of their concerns is about weight so they think they'll skip this meal and get fewer calories during the day when in reality they skip the meal, they're hungry and they start snacking on this, that, and the other, and overall they tend to eat more calories and fewer nutrient-dense foods," O'Neil said.

Kids don't realize that ready-to-eat cereals provide a quick and easy way to get a good breakfast, she added.

"One of the things that needs to be explored now is why so many children skip breakfast and why so many older children skip breakfast," O'Neil said.

She and her colleagues found that a higher percentage of children and adolescents from single-parent or low-income households skipped breakfast. They also found that ready-to-eat cereal consumption was lower in minority kids than in white kids. At least one earlier study has shown that access and availability of healthy foods, including fortified ready-to-eat cereals, are lower for blacks than for whites, the researchers say.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship Fund.

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Interesting.  I suppose it does make sense though!

Alex usually has cereal (we don't really do sugary cereals...he's lucky to get the lightly sweetened Cheerios, lol) and yogurt for breakfast, so I guess he's good :) 

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I would guess it depends a lot on what the "other" breakfast is.  There is a big difference between greesy bacon and high-cholesterol eggs, and healthier options like whole grain toast, fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal.

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Thanks for sharing.

We do a mix of everything.  Some days its cold cereal, or oatmeal, yogurt or hot meals like eggs pancakes-depends on how early I get up and going! 

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 6:01 PM

I usually have spread organic honey on toasted Ezekiel bread and put walnuts on top in the breakfast. Before that I have 2 prunes and 1 dried fig. I also drink fresh grapefruit juice. At the end I have green mint tea and then a vitamin.

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Did anyone notice who funded the research? :)  Did you know that when a company funds research they are entitled to exclusive rights to the correct information and depending on how well they pad their friends pockets (at the US dept of agriculture) will depend how far they can stretch the truth...

while I'm no expert in morning routines I do know the #1 thing recommended to parents in our hospital and out patient  mental health services  for focus in school and help with calming behaviors is a breakfast consisting of 1 egg (any style)  4 ounces of water with a half piece of fruit-- add a slice of toast  and bacon for the skinny  and make it 2 eggs for the very skinny  --I must here them give this advice 10x a day --  and they always say curb the cereal--- and the stuff they used to say about high cholesterol eggs causing a problem has been proven false many times over--  So I'm not buying the article

we're oatmeal peopel in our house

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 7:12 PM
I don't have time to cook breakfast before work during the week...they eat Special K with Strawberries...weekends we usually grab Jamba Juice oameal on Saturdays..and cook at home Sundays.
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:03 PM
I've heard this before. And actually it does make sense in some cases. For example Cheerios being healthier than a Poptart.
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 9:14 PM

DD loves her multigrain cheerios dry in a bowl  for breakfast and really any time of day.  We put the milk in a cup for her to drink since she does not like to mix the two.  No sugary cereals here unless i buy for myself the Rice krispie treats cereal.

by Sarah on Oct. 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM

 Same here. 

Quoting Vertical15:

Thanks for sharing.

We do a mix of everything.  Some days its cold cereal, or oatmeal, yogurt or hot meals like eggs pancakes-depends on how early I get up and going! 


by on Oct. 12, 2012 at 5:23 AM

Each morning, I try to change it up, to keep from getting bored eating the same type of breakfast.  But, Saturday mornings remains the traditional cold cereal and a good funny cartoon.  lol

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