High Protein Breakfast Dampens Hunger Drive Later in the Day

By Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

June 4, 2011

High Protein Breakfast Dampens Hunger Drive Later in the Day
Those of you familiar with the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet, know that Rule #4 is; Eat a Breakfast Containing Protein. I have long explained that a high protein breakfast can boost the metabolic rate up to 30 percent for as long as 12 hours and provide lower insulin release, while assisting with food cravings. New research at the University of Missouri1 agrees with my preference for the high protein breakfast.

This study was done with teenage girls. Some skipped breakfast, others ate an average amount of protein (18 grams) and others had a high protein breakfast (50 grams). The researchers used advanced functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure neural activity in response to images of food prior to lunch. They found that a high protein breakfast reduced activation of the brain that would otherwise result in food cravings for the sake of pleasure eating – a primary problem in overweight people. In fact, numerous brain regions showed more stable functionality in response to the high protein breakfast, indicating that the extra protein was very good at helping to control appetite and have a more normal mental relationship with food.

“Everyone knows that eating breakfast is important, but many people still don't make it a priority,” said Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “This research provides additional evidence that breakfast is a valuable strategy to control appetite and regulate food intake.”

It is easy for anyone, even teens or college students in a hurry, to get a 50 gram protein breakfast by quickly making a whey protein smoothie. Not only does whey protein help appetite, but it also helps physical fitness, metabolism of fats and cholesterol, and immunity.

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