According to a study, a healthy high protein breakfast increases satiety and helps to reduce hunger cravings during the day, providing more evidence that breakfast is a useful strategy for managing appetite and regulating intake of food. Researchers used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to reveal that the brain signals which control food motivation and eating behavior driven by reward are reduced by eating a breakfast rich in protein.
Satiety and physiological hunger was assessed by measuring hormonal markers and perceived appetite sensations combined with psychological reward-driven eating motivation, making use of fMRI to determine brain activation in certain areas associated with food motivation and reward.
Skipping breakfast has been strongly linked to overeating, unhealthy snacking, obesity and weight gain. About 60% of teenagers breakfast-skip every day.
For 3 weeks, teenagers skipping breakfast either carried on skipping breakfast or ate 500-calorie cereal and milk breakfast meals containing normal amounts of protein, or higher protein Belgium waffle, syrup and yogurt breakfast meals. At the end of each week, the teenagers filled out satiety and appetite questionnaires. Just before lunch, the teenagers completed an fMRI brain scan to determine brain activation responses.
In comparison to skipping breakfast, both breakfasts resulted in reductions in hunger and improved fullness during the morning. Results of the fMRI scans revealed that before lunch, there was a reduction in brain activation in brain areas that control food motivation and reward whenever the teenagers ate breakfast in the morning. The higher protein breakfast also resulted in even greater satiety, appetite and reward-driven eating behavior changes in comparison to the normal protein breakfast.
The Incorporation of a healthy protein-rich breakfast can be a simple method for staying satisfied longer, and can help individuals to be less prone to snacking. Snack foods for satisfying hunger between meals are convenient, but these foods are usually high in fat and sugar and a considerable amount of calories are added to the diet. These study results indicate that a breakfast high in protein could be an effective strategy for improving appetite control and preventing overeating.