In this fast paced age of instant gratification, young people are skipping breakfast in favor of checking their Instagram while they scramble to get to school or work on time. A new University of Missouri study aimed to quantify the nutritional benefits of the most important meal of the day. Moms in Missouri rejoiced, students were ecstatic for the free grub, and the results were just shy of major significance.
Twenty obese college girls were fed a breakfast high in protein (sausage and eggs), a normal protein breakfast (cereal), or no breakfast at all. Participants were given coolers full of unhealthy snacks to measure their appetite later in the day. While that may have been a misstep by the scientists considering Cheetos and Little Debbies are awfully tempting to any starving college student, the breakfast protein experiment did yield minor results. Researchers found that the more protein consumed during breakfast led to higher appetite satiety and decreased hunger later in the day.
Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, praised the aim of the study but wasn’t fond of its execution. “This is a small study,” said Mary, “but I am impressed that the high protein breakfast led to favorable changes in hormones and neurological chemicals that control food intake regulation. Blood work doesn’t lie.”
But even if protein promotes satiety throughout the day, there are several factors involved with hunger fulfillment. “I don’t care about the subjective measures of the desire to snack or not later in the day because the desire to eat is complex and often times has nothing to do with appetite,” said Mary.
Either way, it appears a well-rounded, protein filled breakfast is a great way to regulate your diet, as long as you’re ingesting healthy proteins. Mary’s examples of low-fat, high-protein breakfast foods include
- hard boiled and soft boiled eggs
- fat-free and low-fat cottage, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese
- fat-free milk and yogurt
- Canadian bacon and lean boiled ham
- smoked salmon
Proteins shouldn’t be exclusive to breakfast, as many physicians agree that protein should represent 10-15 percent of your daily calorie intake. Oatmeal, baked potatoes, soy, and dry roasted edamame are all tasty foods packed with protein.
So take it easy on your Netflix queue, get to bed early, and hustle down to the cafeteria once in a while to start your day off with a light, high-protein breakfast. The helpful early morning calories will provide you with note-taking energy, ward off the pizza pangs, and could even kick-start a slimmer, healthier you.