People Who Eat This Weigh Less


People, especially children, who frequently eat cold cereal for breakfast, are less likely to be overweight, according to new research from the University of Toronto.

Cereal-eaters not only have a lower body mass index than their non-cereal eating friends, but also have a higher intake of important nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, and zinc.

The study: The researchers examined food diaries that were kept by 2,000 households in the United States over a two-week period. Included in these households were 603 children who ranged in age from 4 years to 12 years. The kids were divided into three groups based on how much cereal they ate over the two weeks: eight or more servings, four to seven servings, and three or fewer servings.

The results: The children--no matter how old they were--who consumed eight or more servings of ready-to-eat cereal over a two-week period had the least body fat. According to the Business Wire news release announcing the study results, four out of five of these children who ate the most cereal had a BMI measurement that was age-appropriate. But only about half of the kids who ate very little cereal had a healthy BMI. Similar findings in previous research have been reported for adults.

The study's co-author G. Harvey Anderson says that's a big difference. "For an average 10-year-old boy, that can equate to about a 12-pound difference," he said in the news release. In the United States, almost one in three kids is at risk for being overweight or is already overweight. For the first time ever, obesity is a major health concern for school-age kids.

Why does cereal do this? There are several reasons. First, cereal is an easy breakfast to make, especially when the morning rush leaves parents and kids harried. Kids who eat cereal are more likely to eat breakfast than other kids. Cereal is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Also, the milk in cereal also provides important nutrients.

The research, which was financed in part by cereal-maker General Mills, was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.