Protein at Breakfast Reduces Hunger & Prevents Overeating

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Research shows that eating a protein rich breakfast increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day.

And for those of us who are prone to the mid-afternoon munchies, this is very, very good news.

The Study

For three weeks, a group of adolescent girls (Age: 15 ± 1 years) with a high BMI (93rd percentile ± 1%) and a habit of skipping breakfast (5 ± 1×/week) either…

  • continued to skip breakfast (BS)
  • or consumed 500-calorie “normal protein” breakfast meals (NP) consisting of cereal and milk
  • or 500-calorie higher protein meals (HP) consisting of Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.

At the end of each week, the girls returned to the lab to eat their respective breakfast followed by:

  • appetite questionnaires and
  • an fMRI brain scan to identify brain activation responses to viewing food vs. nonfood images prior to lunch.

The Results

Compared to skipping breakfast (BS), both breakfast meals (NP & HP) led to increased satiety and reductions in hunger throughout the morning (3 hrs post breakfast).

The fMRI results showed that brain activation in regions controlling food motivation and reward was reduced prior to lunch time when breakfast was consumed in the morning.

Additionally, eating protein at breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behaviour compared to the normal protein breakfast.

Conclusion

The researchers concluded that a protein-rich breakfast might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control and prevent overeating in young people.

And aside from the fact that I take issue with their description of their HP breakfast – Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt – as being high protein, I have to agree.

NOTE – Some of my previous articles – The Big Breakfast DietWeight Loss & Breakfast: Eggs are Better – have shown that skipping breakfast can be a very bad idea.

Reference