Can breakfast help keep us thin? Nutrition science is tricky – Houston Chronicle
NEW YORK (AP) — Cereal makers have happily encouraged the belief that eating breakfast can help keep us thin and bring other benefits, partly by paying for studies that seem to support the idea. What it does show is how difficult it can be to sort the hype from reliable dietary advice when studies are funded by the makers of Froot Loops, nutrition science is often inconclusive, and gray areas can be spun for marketing. Take Special K. In the 1990s, Special K boxes featured findings that people who didn’t normally eat breakfast lost more weight after they started doing so. Regular breakfast eaters who started skipping the meal lost even more weight, compared to those who stuck with their routines. To investigate the long-held idea that breakfast can prevent weight gain, researchers in 2013 reviewed dozens of studies examining the premise. “Only the ideas they see as favorable get money,” Schlundt, an associate professor at Vanderbilt, said of industry-funded research. “The paper is not good, not good = There are major structural problems with it that cannot be fixed,” Carol O’Neil, a professor at Louisiana State University, wrote to her co-author in 2011 about a Kellogg-funded study, according to emails obtained through a records request. The paper did not find a link between cereal consumption among Mexican-American children and better weight, but found one between cereal and higher nutrient intake. With its 2015 update, though, the government decided to look instead at “the combination of what you eat and drink over time,” according to the Health and Human Services Department.