Breakfast, blood glucose, and cognition

Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Apr;67(4):772S-778S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/67.4.772S.


This article compares the findings of three studies that explored the role of increased blood glucose in improving memory function for subjects who ate breakfast. An initial improvement in memory function for these subjects was found to correlate with blood glucose concentrations. In subsequent studies, morning fasting was found to adversely affect the ability to recall a word list and a story read aloud, as well as recall items while counting backwards. Failure to eat breakfast did not affect performance on an intelligence test. It was concluded that breakfast consumption preferentially influences tasks requiring aspects of memory. In the case of both word list recall and memory while counting backwards, the decline in performance associated with not eating breakfast was reversed by the consumption of a glucose-supplemented drink. Although a morning fast also affected the ability to recall a story read aloud, the glucose drink did not reverse this decline. It appears that breakfast consumption influences cognition via several mechanisms, including an increase in blood glucose.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Recall
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose