Girls Need Bigger
Breakfast Than Boys?


BELFAST (Reuters) - Girls need a more filling breakfast than boys if they are to do their best in school tests, according to researchers in Northern Ireland.
Health experts at the University of Ulster said memory and attention tests found boys did better when they were a little hungry while girls were best after a satisfying morning meal.
"The link between having breakfast and performance at school or work is well established," said Dr Barbara Stewart from the Northern Ireland Center for Diet and Health at the university.
"But this research suggests girls need a more satisfying breakfast than boys to perform at their best." During the project, pupils were fed a breakfast of toast, or beans on toast, and then tested on cognitive ability. As tests became more difficult, those who had eaten beans outperformed students who had been given just toast. The researchers suggested girls benefited most because a breakfast high in carbohydrate and protein helped counteract the effect of a negative mood on their academic performance.
"Due to the interaction between cognition and mood a satisfying, high carbohydrate/protein breakfast, such as beans on toast, helps the girls perform at their best," said Stewart.
"While boys perform better when their breakfast leaves them feeling a little hungry."
The findings were being presented this week at the ninth European Nutrition Conference in Rome.
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