Effects of Different Breakfast Cereals on Alertness and Wellbeing
- Andrew P. Smith
Rationale: Previous studies have shown that there are established methodologies that can demonstrate differences between having no breakfast and consuming ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC). Much of this research has used high carbohydrate cereals (e.g. cornflakes) or high fibre cereals (e.g. wheat bran) and the present study extended this research by comparing cereals with different nutrients with a no breakfast condition.
Objectives: The main objective of the study was to compare breakfast cereal conditions differing in type of grain and the presence of 2g inulin, over a 14 day period.
Methods: The study involved a 14 day intervention where the participants (adults and primary school children) were assigned to either a no breakfast condition, a Rice Krispie breakfast condition or a Multi-grain condition with 2g of inulin. Questionnaires measuring aspects of wellbeing and ratings of alertness were completed at baseline and days 7 and 14.
Results: Participants in the breakfast conditions reported lower scores than the no breakfast group for depression, anxiety, emotional distress, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, somatic symptoms, and digestive symptoms. These effects were observed across different cereals, in both children and adults, and were significant in both weeks. Differences between the cereal conditions were not observed in the wellbeing outcomes but the cereal with inulin was associated with increased alertness at day 14.
Conclusions: Consumption of RTEC is associated with better wellbeing. These effects appear to be consistent across different products, age groups and over time. In contrast, a Multi-grain cereal with added inulin was, compared to Rice Krispies, associated with greater alertness at the end of the study which could plausibly be due to changes in gut bacteria.
- Bella DongEditorial Assistant