Breakfast for kids: best and worst local foods to eat

By Anita Yee   — July 04, 2016
  • Most important meal of the day
    1 / 5 Most important meal of the day

    Experts have been saying for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

    Now, researchers from the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) here have proven why this is so: What is eaten for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day in terms of sugar in the blood.

    The centre has shown that people who have a low glycaemic index (GI) breakfast and afternoon snack have significantly less sugar in their blood for the rest of the day.

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  • What is glycaemic index?
    2 / 5 What is glycaemic index?

    The glycaemic Index (GI) measures the sugar in the blood from the carbohydrates eaten.

    A glycaemic response is the amount of sugar in the blood over time resulting from food.

    The trial found that while participants were offered a standard buffet lunch and were free to eat what they wanted for dinner, what they had for breakfast made a vast difference to their glycaemic response.

    The difference was even larger on the second day of the study.

    Professor Jeyakumar Henry, head of the CNRC and one of the researchers involved, told The Straits Times in an exclusive interview: “So what you eat at breakfast sets your glucose response to the entire day at a lower amplitude.”

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  • Diabetes and GI
    3 / 5 Diabetes and GI

    The researchers postulate two possible reasons for this.

    One is that those on a low GI breakfast were possibly more satiated and ate less for lunch.

    The other is something called a “second meal effect”, where a low GI meal reduced the glucose response to the next meal taken.

    The researchers suggested that a low GI breakfast “may help to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes“, which is caused by high blood sugar levels.

    Singapore has one of the highest incidence of diabetes among developed countries, with one in four people here suffering from diabetes or headed that way. 

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  • Low GI breakfasts
    4 / 5 Low GI breakfasts

    Low glycaemic index (GI) food results in less sugar in the blood.

    According to Temasek Polytechnic’s GI testing and research unit, the only facility in the region that meets international standards, you should serve these low GI breakfast options to your family.

    They include:
    – soon kueh (with thin skin), 

    – stir-fried bee hoon, 
    – adai (rice and black lentil pancake), 
    – pongal (mixture of rice and different types of lentils), 
    – multigrain chappati, 
    – rolled oats (wholegrain, pictured), 
    – multigrain bread, 
    – sour dough bread, 
    – wholemeal bread, 
    – muesli (with Healthier Choice symbol), 
    – all bran breakfast cereals.

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  • High GI breakfasts
    5 / 5 High GI breakfasts

    Avoid these high GI breakfast options, Temasek Polytechnic’s GI testing and research unit shares.

    Say no to:
    – chee cheong fun,
    – rice dumpling,
    – sticky rice in lotus leaf,
    – nasi lemak (pictured),
    – ketupat,
    – jemput jemput (fritters),
    – putu mayam,
    – roti prata,
    – instant/quick cooking oats,
    – white bread,
    – cornflakes,
    – s
    ugar-coated breakfast cereals.

    A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.


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