Most of us knew that high fiber breakfast was good for us. But new research finds breakfast with good fiber can also reduce the risk of diabetes among children.
Children who ate a good breakfast had less diabetes
Research from the University of Glasgow’s School of Medicine studied and tested 4,116 children aged nine and ten years old. The children attended 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham, and Leicester – all in the U.K.
The children completed dietary recalls and underwent examinations for weight, body fat, and were tested for cholesterol levels, insulin levels, glucose levels, urate levels, and levels of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). HbA1c is a marker for diabetes.
The researchers found that 74 percent of the children ate breakfast every day, while 26 percent of the children did not eat breakfast every day – 11 percent ate breakfast most days, nine percent ate breakfast only sometimes while six percent did not usually eat breakfast.
The researchers found those who did not always eat breakfast had an average of 26 percent higher fasting insulin levels and 26 percent higher insulin resistance compared with those who ate breakfast.
Those not eating breakfast also had 26 percent higher fasting insulin levels, and slightly higher levels of HbA1c, glucose and urate levels. In other words, a high risk of diabetes.
All of these factors are related to diabetes. Higher levels of these occur coinciding with a lack of glucose control and spikes in blood sugar.
The research also found that kids who didn’t eat breakfast had an average fat mass index of 2.26 while the breakfast eaters had 2.00 kg/m-5.
The breakfast eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, at .48 mg/L, compared to .68 mg/L among the no-breakfast eaters.
In addition, cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure levels were all slightly better among the breakfast eaters compared with the no-breakfast eaters.
Furthermore, these markers decreased as the frequency of breakfast decreased.
Fiber breakfast had the lowest risk of diabetes
The researchers also categorized and analyzed the types of breakfasts eaten, particularly with respect to fiber. The researchers divided the breakfasts into five categories:
– high fiber cereal breakfast (more than 3 grams per 40 grams of food)
– low fiber cereal (less than 3 grams/40 grams)
– bread breakfasts
– bisquit breakfasts
– other breakfasts (such as eggs, fruit and yogurts)
The researchers found that diabetes markers were all significantly better among those children who ate a high-fiber cereal, compared to the other types of breakfasts and compared to few or no-breakfast children. These included fat mass, insulin resistance, insulin levels, HbA1c levels, glucose levels, C-reactive protein and others.
The nutrition factor
At least part of the results may be due to nutrition in addition to fiber content of the breakfast. Those kids who didn’t eat breakfast all had significantly lower levels of important nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron and folate. This also relates to fiber because high-fiber foods also tend to contain greater levels of nutrients.
Breakfast also reduces diabetes risk in adults
This study confirms some of the other research that has found breakfasts to be healthier in general. A 2012 study from Harvard of 29,206 men found that skipping breakfast increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
This study also tracked number of meals per day, and found that those eating three meals per day had significantly lower risk of diabetes than those eating two meals per day.
This becomes even more important as some research has found up to 40 percent of kids among certain ethnic groups do not eat breakfast. And breakfast-skipping seems to increase with age.
Donin AS, Nightingale CM, Owen CG, Rudnicka AR, Perkin MR, Jebb SA, Stephen AM, Sattar N, Cook DG, Whincup PH. Regular Breakfast Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes Risk Markers in 9- to 10-Year-Old Children in the Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE): A Cross-Sectional Analysis. PLoS Med. 2014 Sep 2;11(9):e1001703. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001703. eCollection 2014 Sep.
Mekary RA, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in men: breakfast omission, eating frequency, and snacking. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 May;95(5):1182-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.028209.
Harding S, Teyhan A, Maynard MJ, Cruickshank JK. Ethnic differences in overweight and obesity in early adolescence in the MRC DASH study: the role of adolescent and parental lifestyle. Int J Epidemiol. 2008 Feb;37(1):162-72. doi:
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.