London, Sept. 30: Girls do better at schoolwork on a high-protein breakfast while boys seem to do better when they are slightly hungry, according to researchers.
Children were asked to eat a breakfast of baked beans on toast or toast alone and then given tests. The mood of the children and how full or hungry they felt after breakfast were also assessed. All the children, aged between 11 and 13, travelled for up to an hour to get to school in Co Antrim, Ulster.
In the pilot study, sponsored by Heinz, 15 boys and 15 girls ate a toast and butter or toast, butter and beans breakfast, both providing the same amount of calories, for two weeks, and then crossed to the other meal.
According to Barbara Stewart Knox and her colleagues at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, girls did better than boys at school tests initially on the protein breakfast, particularly if their mood had been low. But, as the tests became harder, both boys and girls did better when they had eaten some beans for breakfast.
Knox said yesterday that, although beans were not a typical breakfast meal, the children had enjoyed them. The research found that the girls scored better on attention and memory span than the boys.
Boys were better when they said they were still hungry and girls did better when they said they felt full.