High-Protein Breakfasts Could Improve Appetite Control

Maybe mom was right after all.  According to new research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a protein-rich breakfast can help a person control their appetite and reduce the desire to snack on sugary or fatty foods later on in the day.

Recent research shows that a morning meal with plenty of protein (35 grams vs. the standard breakfast at around 13 grams) makes it easier to control your appetite and reduce your urge to snack on sugary or fatty foods later in the day. The reason? If you don’t eat when you wake up – or if you load up on sugary cereals and muffins instead of protein – your appetite-control hormones, ghrelin and leptin, can’t establish their proper counter-regulatory rhythm: The result is you end up starving, bingeing and overeating in an endless destructive cycle.  I call it the “vicious cookie cycle.”  

The researchers discovered eating high protein foods increased levels of fullness and reduced activity in an area of the brain responsible for food craving.

“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,” one of the researchers said in a statement. “These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”

Good protein choices at breakfast include: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and eggbeaters, protein shakes and oatmeal made with unsweetened soy milk and walnuts.