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We have heard the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of day. Well now there’s another reason why it’s true. Eating a protein-rich breakfast has been shown to reduce unhealthy snacking and consumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods later in the day.
Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, conducted a breakfast study with 20 overweight or obese adolescent females ages 18-20. They either skipped breakfast or consumed a 350 calorie high-protein breakfast of eggs and lean beef, or a 350 calorie normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal.
Subjects completed questionnaires, provided blood samples throughout the day and had brain MRI’s performed prior to dinner to track brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior.
Results showed that the subject who consumed the high-protein breakfast experienced increased fullness, satiety and reduced food cravings. Leidy explains, “Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks.”
Leidy goes on to say, “This data suggests that the addition of breakfast, particularly one rich in protein, might be a useful strategy to improve diet quality in overweight or obese teenage girls.”
With obesity rates continuing to rise and nearly 60% of young adults skipping breakfast, these findings provide further evidence than breakfast is vitally important in getting your day off to the right start.