The impact of breakfast in metabolic and digestive health

Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2011 Spring;4(2):76-85.


Aim: The purpose of this study is to explore whether the types and quality of breakfast could influence energy levels (blood glucose levels) and propose ideal breakfast models.

Background: It is widely considered that a regular breakfast provides a number of health benefits; however, there is no general scientific agreement regarding what kind of food should be consumed. Evidence supports the importance of balancing blood glucose levels by low glycaemic index/load (L-GI/L) and increased protein diets, in particular in metabolic disorders, which non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has a close relation to.

Patients and methods: This study was conducted by using a valid and standard questionnaire at the University of Worcester to evaluate the breakfast and dietary habits and energy levels. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used for statistical analysis.

Results: No significant differences were found either between breakfast consumption, energy levels, types of snack and amount of caffeine intake in the morning or between types of breakfast, energy levels, types of snack, and amount of caffeine intake in the morning. However, potential differences in energy levels were found across the groups of breakfast types: glycaemia (GL) (p=.057) and protein intake (p=.056).

Conclusion: The types and quality of breakfast would be key as regular breakfast consumption alone did not show adequate health benefits. Lower GL foods and higher protein intake at breakfast were found to be associated with higher energy levels. It is therefore recommended that breakfast foods should be low in GL and high in protein. These changes may lead to better health status and prevention of disease, especially metabolic and liver disorders, in the long term.

Keywords: Blood glucose; Diet therapy; Food habits; Glycaemic index.