We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but dieters seem to find it also the easiest meal to skip. New research finds that this is actually a big mistake, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits for the rest of the day. Instead, you should eat a breakfast that’s rich in protein, which will help with appetite control to keep you from snacking on sweet or fatty foods in the afternoon and evening.
Protein Suppresses the Appetite
Researchers have known for some time that protein consumption helps with appetite control, since protein “sticks to your ribs” and helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time. This is the first real study geared at examining the content of different types of breakfasts, however, and the effect that they have on our eating habits throughout the rest of the day.
In a recent study, young female test subjects either skipped breakfast, ate lean beef and eggs for breakfast, or consumed a normal breakfast consisting of cold cereal. Although all of the breakfasts consumed contained the same amount of dietary fiber, fat, sugar and overall energy content, the high protein meal also had 35 grams of protein.
The test subjects provided blood samples, answered questionnaires at various times during the day, and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan just before dinner. The subjects who consumed the high protein breakfast experienced more satiety, and showed reduced brain activity in areas that control food cravings. They were also less inclined to snack on sweet and fatty foods in the evening, compared to the subjects in the other two groups.
More Protein Equals Less Sugar and Fat
Researchers concluded that consuming a breakfast rich in protein has a significant impact on how much and what type of food you eat later on in the day, which is when people are more likely to snack on foods containing high levels of sugar and fat. The data suggests that consuming protein in the morning may be a powerful strategy for controlling the desire to overeat, as well as improving the overall quality of your diet.
For those who are used to skipping the morning meal, it may require a bit of an adjustment; however, within three days, your body should get used to consuming food in the morning. If you’re not a big egg and beef fan, some suggested alternative high protein breakfasts are cottage cheese, plain yogurt or even burritos, for a spicy change.
Future studies will be conducted to determine whether consumption of breakfasts high in protein actually improve weight management in teenagers and twenty-somethings. In the meantime, you can do the research for yourself by switching out your cold cereal for a nice omelet, turkey sausage patty, or high protein breakfast bar.
For a protein breakfast that doesn’t consist of eggs,
try our Protein Pancakes Recipe –
it’s freezable and kid-friendly!
Eat More Protein
And since protein in general has been shown to lead to lower overall caloric consumption, instead of limiting it to breakfast, try snacking on healthy, high protein foods such as celery with peanut or almond butter, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, high protein shakes, protein bars, low-fat cheeses and yogurt.
Above all, don’t give in to the temptation to skip breakfast! It may seem like an easy way to trim a few calories out of your day, especially if you don’t wake up feeling particularly ravenous in the morning, but in the end, it will lead to a much higher consumption of unhealthy, high calorie foods.