Whilst there is extensive literature on the health benefits of a regular breakfast, there are few guidelines to help policy makers issue specific target on optimal nutrient intake at breakfast or the selection of foods to attain these targets.
The food and nutritional advice on breakfast offered by most governments is confined to simple advice on food servings. The US and Mexico typify the few countries that have attempted to issue specific nutrient targets for breakfast. However, these simply reflect general nutrient guidelines for adults, adjusted to suit lower energy needs of toddlers and school children.
Little guidance is issued on micronutrient intake and the advice on food choice does not appear to be linked to patterns of nutrient intake. Cluster and Principal Component Analysis have been used to link either daily or breakfast food choice to respective intakes of nutrients and these approaches have greatly improved our understanding of optimal breakfast choices.
The International Breakfast Research Initiative (IBRI), using six national nutrition surveys (Canada, Denmark, France, Spain, UK and US) has opted to score each individual with a measure of overall daily nutritional quality (based on the Nutrient Rich Food Index). It is hoped that options for the derivation of breakfast nutrient targets and associated food-based guidelines will arise from an analysis of tertiles of this score. Ultimately, meal based advice will become the basic building block for digitally based personalised dietary analysis and guidelines.