If you’re always caving to your desire for calorie-rich treats, new research shows that protein-rich breakfasts help control cravings all day long!
Think about it…Those 3:00 pm munchies or nighttime noshing?….Bye-Bye! Adios! Sayonara!
A new short-term study, published in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides more reason to enjoy high-quality protein foods during you’re a.m. meal.
The study included 20 young females who served as their own controls as they followed three different breakfast patterns, each for a week at a time. The three interventions included: Skipping breakfast for a week, eating a 350-calorie cereal breakfast with 13 grams of protein for a week; or eating an egg and beef-rich 350-calorie breakfast with 35 grams of protein for a week. The meals were also matched to provide the same fat, fiber and sugar content. The high-protein breakfast provided 40% of calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates and 20% from fat. The lower-protein breakfast provided 15% of calories from protein, 65% of calories from carbohydrates and 20% from fat.
After eating the test breakfasts or no breakfast for six days, on the seventh day of each breakfast pattern, the women went to the University of Missouri where they completed surveys about their appetite and hunger, and underwent MRI scans of their brains to see if specific breakfast meals activated various regions of the brain responsible for hunger, satiety and one’s drive to eat calorie-rich foods.
Results? Eating any type of breakfast was better than breakfast skipping when it came to boosting fullness and reducing hunger and appetite. However, when comparing the two 350-calorie breakfasts, the high-protein breakfast was found to turn down areas of the brain responsible for food cravings. In addition, the high protein breakfast decreased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosted the satiety hormone peptide YY. Surprisingly, the authors noted that the high protein breakfast also resulted in fewer high-calorie snack foods eaten in the evening.
It’s hard to imagine that what you eat at 7 a.m. can influence what you choose to snack on at 7 p.m., but this isn’t the first study to show that high protein breakfasts may help turn down your desire for, um, desirable foods all day long and even well into the evening.
Best Bet High-Protein Breakfasts to Curb Cravings
Our new book, The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions, promotes high-protein breakfasts. Our meal plans are designed to provide 400 calories at breakfast and have at least 25 grams of protein for 25% of the first meal’s total calories. We feel that this is an amount that can help keep your cravings in control for hours. Some of our go-to breakfast foods include eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, high-protein breakfast cereals, Canadian bacon and skim or lowfat milk.
Here’s a week’s worth of some of our favorite protein-packed breakfasts
Breakfast Burrito: 2 eggs and 1 white (or 4 egg whites) scrambled with spinach, mushroom and chopped tomatoes or salsa in 1 small La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Corn Tortillas (5 grams protein/90 calories) http://www.latortillafactory.com/products-8.aspx
1 cup oatmeal with ½ cup nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt, like Fage, topped with cinnamon and 1 cup fresh or frozen (no added sugar) berries
Protein Pancakes with
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt and ½ cup sliced fresh fruit
1 Package Belvita Breakfast Biscuits with 8 oz nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt
Open-faced Egg Sandwich
2 soft-boiled eggs served over 1 toasted whole-wheat Light English muffin with arugula, sliced tomato and 2 tsp reduced fat spread or light butter
1 piece fresh fruit
Cottage Cheese with Cereal and Fruit
¾ cup Lowfat Cottage Cheese with ¼ cup Grape-Nuts Fit (has 6 grams protein in 2/3 cup) and 1 cup fresh berries
Reference: Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):677-88. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.053116. Epub 2013 Feb 27.