Missouri University researchers have confirmed a recommendation we have been hearing from nutritionists for years: If you want to lose weight, don’t skip breakfast. Instead, eat a morning meal high in protein. It will get you on the right track for healthy eating all day long.
Scientists decided to look at how skipping breakfast compares to eating a regular or protein-rich one. The subjects they chose to use were teenagers, since an estimated sixty percent of teens forego breakfast daily. Missing the first meal of the day has long been associated with overeating, especially at night, weight gain, and obesity.
The subjects were separated into three groups. The first skipped breakfast altogether; the second ate a 500-calorie meal of cereal and milk with a normal amount of protein; the third group had a 500-calorie meal that was extra rich in protein.
At the end of each of the three weeks of the study, the teens filled out questionnaires that asked about their appetites and how full they were. Just before lunch, they also underwent functional MRI studies in which their brain activation responses were measured.
Compared to the meal skippers, the kids who ate both types of breakfasts were less hungry and actually felt full throughout the morning. Those who had eaten the high-protein breakfasts manifested even greater amounts of fullness and reward-driven eating behaviors.
Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at Missouri University, says this study underscores the importance of making it a priority to eat a high-protein breakfast. Even adding a little protein powder to your morning waffles could give your weight loss plan a boost.