IS it any wonder that when business leaders were asked what they ate for breakfast, the most common answer was porridge? Yes, some preferred yoghurt or cereal – and there were even a few that liked a fry-up – but the bosses and company founders interviewed for the new book What Do Leaders Eat for Breakfast? have made the right choice in opting for porridge oats.

Whether Scotland can claim porridge as it own is another matter. In fact, researchers at the University of Florence recently uncovered a stone tool which suggested porridge was consumed in Italy more than 30,000 years ago, making it the first cultivated meal to be eaten by ancient Europeans.

By comparison, the evidence of porridge consumption in Scotland is much more recent (around 4000BC) although the passion with which Scots have embraced the food is unmatched. It has also become a light-hearted way to judge the character and mettle of a Scot, with anyone who dares to add milk, jam or fruit to their porridge being viewed with the utmost suspicion.

Of course, there will always be some who find porridge the ultimate in self-denial, but perhaps the doubters will believe some of the food’s fans. Famously, porridge was the breakfast of choice of Nelson Mandela and Buzz Aldrin; it was also porridge that helped power Roald Amundsen to the South Pole.

However, the more important reason for eating porridge, particularly in a country struggling with obesity, is because it is so good for us. Not only is it a good source of protein, porridge helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, helps to lower cholesterol and it can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, another of modern Scotland’s great health problems. There is also some evidence that porridge can help reduce the symptoms of depression by boosting levels of serotonin.

You can believe Mandela or Buzz Aldrin on the benefits of porridge – or even Wallace and Gromit for that matter – but why not believe the evidence of your own body?