Q. What is the breakfast of champions?
A. Whether grabbing a doughnut is better than no breakfast at all remains to be seen, Leidy says. “Some of our studies suggest that it is better to eat something for breakfast as opposed to skipping,” she says. “On the other hand, we also show that eating a high sugar/high carbohydrate breakfast is detrimental in terms of appetite control and snacking.”
A breakfast high in protein -- such as Greek yogurt with blueberries, granola, and nuts, or a breakfast burrito with eggs, lean meat or soy, and vegetables -- is a better choice, Leidy says.
Q. Can eating breakfast make me smarter?
A. It’s probably too late for you, but it might work for your kids.
An observational study of Chinese kindergartners published in 2013 found that those who regularly ate breakfast had higher IQ scores than their peers who didn’t. The difference remained even after accounting for other factors that can influence IQ, such as parents’ education and occupations.
Casazza, although skeptical of the benefits of breakfast for adults, says “a significant amount of data” support the meal’s importance for the brain in children and teens.
There may be other benefits as well. A study of more than 4,000 children in the U.K., published Sept. 2 in PLoS Medicine, suggests that children who eat a daily breakfast may have a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Mekary, who has a 3½-year-old daughter, says, “I would never send her to preschool without breakfast.”
Q. Does eating breakfast each day help keep the doctor away?
A. “My findings highly suggest that breakfast is beneficial for you,” Mekary says.
Besides the lower risk of type 2 diabetes in breakfast-eaters in the Nurses Health Study, reported in 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, she and her colleagues have published findings of a link between eating breakfast and the lower risk of other diseases. In 2013, they wrote in the journal Circulation that eating breakfast was linked with a lower risk of heart disease in the all-male Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. And in 2012, using data from the health professionals study, they reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that men who ate breakfast also had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.