Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of breakfast predict cognitive function and mood in school children: a randomised controlled trial

  • Renata Micha (a1) (a2), Peter J. Rogers (a3) and Michael Nelson (a1) (a4)
Abstract

The macronutrient composition of a breakfast that could facilitate performance after an overnight fast remains unclear. As glucose is the brain's major energy source, the interest is in investigating meals differing in their blood glucose-raising potential. Findings vary due to unaccounted differences in glucoregulation, arousal and cortisol secretion. We investigated the effects of meals differing in glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) on cognition and mood in school children. A total of seventy-four school children were matched and randomly allocated either to the high-GL or low-GL group. Within each GL group, children received high-GI and low-GI breakfasts. Cognitive function (CF) and mood were measured 95–140 min after breakfast. Blood glucose and salivary cortisol were measured at baseline, before and after the CF tests. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to identify differences in CF, mood, glucose and cortisol levels between the breakfasts. Low-GI meals predicted feeling more alert and happy, and less nervous and thirsty (P < 0·05 for each); high-GL meals predicted feeling more confident, and less sluggish, hungry and thirsty (P < 0·05 for each). High-GL (P < 0·001) and high-GI (P = 0·05) meals increased glucose levels 90 min after breakfast, and high-GI meals increased cortisol levels (P < 0·01). When baseline mood, glucose and cortisol levels were considered, low-GI meals predicted better declarative-verbal memory (P = 0·03), and high-GI meals better vigilance (P < 0·03); observed GI effects were valid across GL groups. GI effects on cognition appear to be domain specific. On balance, it would appear that the low-GI high-GL breakfast may help to improve learning, and of potential value in informing government education policies relating to dietary recommendations and implementation concerning breakfast.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of breakfast predict cognitive function and mood in school children: a randomised controlled trial
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of breakfast predict cognitive function and mood in school children: a randomised controlled trial
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of breakfast predict cognitive function and mood in school children: a randomised controlled trial
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Dr Renata Micha, fax +1 617 566 7805, email renata_micha@hotmail.com; rmicha@hsph.harvard.edu
References
Hide All
1 Spear, LP (2000) The adolescent brain and age-related behavioral manifestations. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 24, 417463.
2 Pollitt, E, Leibel, RL & Greenfield, D (1981) Brief fasting, stress, and cognition in children. Am J Clin Nutr 34, 15261533.
3 Pollitt, E, Lewis, NL, Garza, C, et al. (1982) Fasting and cognitive function. J Psychiatr Res 17, 169174.
4 Conners, CK & Blouin, AG (1982) Nutritional effects on behavior of children. J Psychiatr Res 17, 193201.
5 Vaisman, N, Voet, H, Akivis, A, et al. (1996) Effect of breakfast timing on the cognitive functions of elementary school students. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 150, 10891092.
6 Wesnes, KA, Pincock, C, Richardson, D, et al. (2003) Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite 41, 329331.
7 Mahoney, CR, Taylor, HA, Kanarek, RB, et al. (2005) Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. Physiol Behav 85, 635645.
8 Smith, AP, Clark, R & Gallagher, J (1999) Breakfast cereal and caffeinated coffee: effects on working memory, attention, mood, and cardiovascular function. Physiol Behav 67, 917.
9 Simeon, DT & Grantham-McGregor, S (1989) Effects of missing breakfast on the cognitive functions of school children of differing nutritional status. Am J Clin Nutr 49, 646653.
10 Chandler, AM, Walker, SP, Connolly, K, et al. (1995) School breakfast improves verbal fluency in undernourished Jamaican children. J Nutr 125, 894900.
11 Benton, D & Parker, PY (1998) Breakfast, blood glucose, and cognition. Am J Clin Nutr 67, S772S778.
12 Scholey, AB & Kennedy, DO (2004) Cognitive and physiological effects of an “energy drink”: an evaluation of the whole drink and of glucose, caffeine and herbal flavouring fractions 112. Psychopharmacology 176, 320330.
13 Kennedy, DO & Scholey, AB (2000) Glucose administration, heart rate and cognitive performance: effects of increasing mental effort. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 149, 6371.
14 Dye, L, Lluch, A & Blundell, JE (2000) Macronutrients and mental performance. Nutrition 16, 10211034.
15 Gibson, EL & Green, MW (2002) Nutritional influences on cognitive function: mechanisms of susceptibility. Nutr Res Rev 15, 169206.
16 Messier, C (2004) Glucose improvement of memory: a review. Eur J Pharmacol 490, 3357.
17 Riby, LM (2004) The impact of age and task domain on cognitive performance: a meta-analytic review of the glucose facilitation effect. Brain Impairment 5, 145165.
18 Hoyland, A, Lawton, CL & Dye, L (2008) Acute effects of macronutrient manipulations on cognitive test performance in healthy young adults: a systematic research review. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 32, 7285.
19 Benton, D, Ruffin, MP, Lassel, T, et al. (2003) The delivery rate of dietary carbohydrates affects cognitive performance in both rats and humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 166, 8690.
20 Ingwersen, J, Defeyter, MA, Kennedy, DO, et al. (2007) A low glycaemic index breakfast cereal preferentially prevents children's cognitive performance from declining throughout the morning. Appetite 49, 240244.
21 Benton, D, Maconie, A & Williams, C (2007) The influence of the glycaemic load of breakfast on the behaviour of children in school. Physiol Behav 92, 717724.
22 Micha, R, Rogers, PJ & Nelson, M (2010) The glycaemic potency of breakfast and cognitive function in school children. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 948957.
23 Gibson, EL (2007) Carbohydrates and mental function: feeding or impeding the brain? Nutr Bull 32, Suppl. 1, 7183.
24 Jenkins, DJ, Wolever, TM, Taylor, R, et al. (1981) Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange. Am J Clin Nutr 34, 362366.
25 Wolever, TM, Yang, M, Zeng, XY, et al. (2006) Food glycemic index, as given in glycemic index tables, is a significant determinant of glycemic responses elicited by composite breakfast meals. Am J Clin Nutr 83, 13061312.
26 Galgani, J, Aguirre, C & Diaz, E (2006) Acute effect of meal glycemic index and glycemic load on blood glucose and insulin responses in humans. Nutr J 5, 22.
27 Micha, R & Nelson, M (2011) Glycemic index and glycemic load used in combination to characterize metabolic responses of mixed meals in healthy lean young adults. J Am Coll Nutr (In the press).
28 Office for National Statistics (2000) Standard Occupational Classification 2000, vols 1 and 2. London: The Stationery Office.
29 Nelson, M, Erens, B, Bates, B, et al. (2007) Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey. London: TSO.
30 de Onis, M, Onyango, AW, Borghi, E, et al. (2007) Development of a WHO growth reference for school-aged children and adolescents. Bull World Health Organ 85, 660667.
31 Cole, TJ, Flegal, KM, Nicholls, D, et al. (2007) Body mass index cut offs to define thinness in children and adolescents: international survey. BMJ 335, 194.
32 Nelson, M, Atkins, M & Meyer, J (1997) Food Portion Sizes: A User's Guide to the Photographic Atlas. London: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
33 Nelson, M, Atkinson, M & Darbyshire, S (1996) Food photography II: use of food photographs for estimating portion size and the nutrient content of meals. Br J Nutr 76, 3149.
34 Wolever, TM, Vorster, HH, Bjorck, I, et al. (2003) Determination of the glycaemic index of foods: interlaboratory study. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 475482.
35 Hanrahan, K, McCarthy, AM, Kleiber, C, et al. (2006) Strategies for salivary cortisol collection and analysis in research with children. Appl Nurs Res 19, 95101.
36 NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) (2005) Report 05072; Roche Diagnostics Accu-Chek Aviva blood glucose meter. London: NHS PASA.
37 Department of Health (2004) Blood Glucose Monitoring: Know Your Systems. London: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
38 American Diabetes Association (1996) Consensus statement on clinical practice recommendation: self-monitoring of blood glucose. Diabetes Care 19, Suppl. 1, S62S66.
39 Donohoe, RT & Benton, D (1999) Cognitive functioning is susceptible to the level of blood glucose. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 145, 378385.
40 Sunram-Lea, SI, Foster, JK, Durlach, P, et al. (2001) Glucose facilitation of cognitive performance in healthy young adults: examination of the influence of fast-duration, time of day and pre-consumption plasma glucose levels. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 157, 4654.
41 Lorr, M & McNair, D (1988) Profile of Mood States Bi-Polar Form. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.
42 Rogers, PJ, Richardson, NJ & Elliman, NA (1995) Overnight caffeine abstinence and negative reinforcement of preference for caffeine-containing drinks. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 120, 457462.
43 Gregory, JR, Foster, JK, Tyler, H, et al. (1990) The Dietary and Nutritional Survey of British Adults. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
44 Gregory, JR, Lowe, S, Bates, CJ, et al. (2000) National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Young People Aged 4 to 18 Years. London: The Stationery Office.
45 Gregory, JR, Collins, DL, Davies, PSW, et al. (1995) National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Children Aged 1½ to 4½ Years. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
46 Henderson, L, Gregory, JR & Swan, J (2003) National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Adults Aged 19 to 64 Years. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
47 Foster-Powell, K, Holt, S & Brand-Miller, J (2002) International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values. Am J Clin Nutr 76, 556.
48 Henry, CJ, Lightowler, HJ, Strik, CM, et al. (2005) Glycaemic index and glycaemic load values of commercially available products in the UK. Br J Nutr 94, 922930.
49 Collier, G, Wolever, TM, Wong, G, et al. (1986) Prediction of glycemic response to mixed meals in noninsulin-dependent diabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 44, 349352.
50 Salmeron, J, Manson, J, Stampfer, M, et al. (1997) Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA 277, 472477.
51 Ludwig, DS (2002) The glycemic index: physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. JAMA 287, 24142423.
52 Ostman, EM, Liljeberg Elmstahl, HG & Bjorck, IM (2001) Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular and fermented milk products. Am J Clin Nutr 74, 96100.
53 Buyken, AE, Trauner, K, Gunther, AL, et al. (2007) Breakfast glycemic index affects subsequent daily energy intake in free-living healthy children. Am J Clin Nutr 86, 980987.
54 Holt, SH, Delargy, HJ, Lawton, CL, et al. (1999) The effects of high-carbohydrate vs high-fat breakfasts on feelings of fullness and alertness, and subsequent food intake. Int J Food Sci Nutr 50, 1328.
55 Foster, JK, Lidder, PG & Sunram, SI (1998) Glucose and memory: fractionation of enhancement effects? Psychopharmacology (Berl) 137, 259270.
56 Green, MW, Taylor, MA, Elliman, NA, et al. (2001) Placebo expectancy effects in the relationship between glucose and cognition. Br J Nutr 86, 173179.
57 Rohleder, N & Kirschbaum, C (2007) Effects of nutrition on neuro-endocrine stress responses. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 10, 504510.
58 Nabb, S & Benton, D (2006) The influence on cognition of the interaction between the macro-nutrient content of breakfast and glucose tolerance. Physiol Behav 87, 1623.
59 Rothman, K, Greenland, S & Lash, TL (2008) Modern Epidemiology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Micha Supplementary Material
Micha Supplementary Material

 Word (56 KB)
56 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed