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Impact of breakfast choice on nutrition

24 / 04 / 19

New research undertaken by Nutrition Research Australia and published in Nutrients has concluded eating breakfast cereal may improve the likelihood of meeting the Australian Dietary Guidelines Five Food Group recommendations and increase under-consumed nutrients without increasing discretionary energy intake.

The research consisted of a secondary analysis of the Australian Health Survey (AHS) data. The results found that, compared to breakfast skippers or adults who ate other breakfasts, breakfast cereal eaters:

  • were more likely to meet recommendations for ADG Five Food Groups (core foods);
  • were more likely to meet nutrient targets and had significantly higher intake of dietary fibre, iron, calcium, folate, magnesium and potassium;
  • had the highest intake of whole grains (double that of adults who ate other breakfasts, and three times the intake of breakfast skippers);
  • had the lowest intakes of added and free sugars, refined grains, and discretionary foods;
  • had a healthier diet at breakfast and throughout the rest of the day, with the breakfast choice impacting intakes of several food groups and nutrients over the day*,
  • were most likely to be a healthy weight. 

* For the first time researchers examined whether the impact of breakfast was explained solely by breakfast choice or the influence of food choices made throughout the rest of the day.

Other findings of interest include:

  • At breakfast, non-cereal eaters had three times the discretionary food intake of cereal eaters. Cereal eaters had lowest discretionary food intake throughout the day.
  • Although there was no difference between added and free sugars intake between breakfast cereal eaters and those who ate other foods at breakfast, breakfast cereal eaters ended up consuming the lowest added and free sugars over the whole day.
  • Breakfast cereal eaters consumed less than half the sodium of adults who ate other foods at breakfast, and non-cereal eaters had the highest daily sodium intakes.
  • Breakfast cereal eaters were more likely to be sufficiently active for health, of higher socio-economic status, and choose breakfast cereal with less than 15% total sugars per 100g (62%).

This research follows up on previous work on the impact of breakfast choice on nutrient and sugars intakes and weight status in children.

A two-page summary of the research is available here. The research was funded by the Australian Breakfast Cereal Manufacturers Forum (ABMF).

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