Study links low-GI kids' breakfast to less calories

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Blood sugar

Sending your kids off to school on a low GI-breakfast could reduce
their calorie intake throughout the day, suggests new research.

A study conducted at Oxford Brookes University and published in this month's British Journal of Nutrition​ gave children between eight and 11 years of age low- and high- glycaemic index (GI) breakfasts and subsequently found a slight difference in their calorie intake at lunchtime. Though the results were not statistically significant, the researchers said they point to the need for more investigation into this area in order to combat the growing global problem of childhood obesity. A study such as this one, funded by the UK's Sugar Bureau, could further impulse food manufacturers to create GI products for children's diets and tastes. "The food companies will have to pay some attention to the GI concept, without sacrificing taste, flavour and enjoyment,"​ lead researcher, Professor Jeya Henry of Oxford Brookes University, told NutraIngredients.com. While studies have looked into GI foods and satiety in adults, Henry claims this study is new for children. "Most long-term studies examining the effects of GI on food intake have been conducted in adults, this is the first to investigate its effects in children,"​ he said. Numbers of overweight children and adults have catapulted in recent years, with health professionals alarmed at the incidence in children - whose waistlines spell the trends of future generations. At least 20 million children under the age of five worldwide were overweight in 2005, according to World Health Organization statistics. In the same year, approximately 1.6 billion adults (aged 15 and over) were overweight and around 400 million were obese. GI measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise consumers' blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly, while low-GI foods allow the body to release energy more slowly, which can have an effect on satiety. As part of the random cross-over design study, the Nutrition and Food Science Group at Oxford Brookes' School of Life Sciences gave 38 boys and girls either a low-GI or high-GI breakfast on two non-consecutive weekdays over 10 weeks. The two groups, consisting of the 11 boys and 27 girls, were then changed for a second 10-week period. The children ate on average 61 kcal less over the days they were given the low-GI breakfast, compared with the days when they ate a high-GI breakfast. Despite the lack of statistical significance in the findings (P​ = 0·406), the researchers assert that the results point to benefits for weight control because the children ate less. "Although a difference of 61 kcal per day may not in itself seem significant, it represents a reduction of 1830kcal over a month,"​ said Henry. "The difference in energy intake suggests that the children felt fuller for longer after consuming a low-GI breakfast." ​Henry anticipates conducting a further study, this one looking at calorie intake and satiety on a 24-hour basis. The full results of the study have not yet been seen by NutraIngredients.com.

Related topics: Research, Weight management

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