Teen Study Suggests Importance of Protein-Rich Breakfast

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WholeFoods Magazine Staff
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Columbia, MO—A recently published article in Obesity shows that eating a high-protein breakfast decreases hunger and increases one’s feeling of fullness.

Clinicians chose teens that skip breakfast to participate in this study. During the three-week study, participants either continuously skipped breakfast, ate a 500-calorie breakfast or consumed a higher protein breakfast. As the week concluded, the volunteers filled out questionnaires about satiety and appetite. Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the University of Missouri Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, and her team also gauged hunger and fullness by measuring participants’ perceived appetites and hormonal markers while given reward-driven motivation to eat. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measured the brain’s response to such stimuli before lunch.

Findings suggested that both breakfasts produced a feeling of fullness and thereby led to less hunger. But, the higher protein breakfast produced even more changes in eating behavior, versus the normal protein diet. The MRIs showed that in the high protein group, the regions of the brain that control hunger were activated.

“These findings suggest that a protein-rich breakfast might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control and prevent overeating in young people,” Leidy stated, adding that such a breakfast could be helpful to those looking to control their appetite.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2011