Eat Breakfast, Reduce Cravings!
Targeting “breakfast-skipping teens” in a study by University of Missouri, researchers found that eating a healthy breakfast, especially one high in protein, increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day.
Breakfast-eaters tend to have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the American Heart Association reported, but the group says the science isn’t strong enough to suggest that people who don’t normally eat breakfast should start.
What The Scans Say
In addition, using fMRI brain scans, the researchers found that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduces the brain signals that cause hard-to-resist cravings later in the day. The study used fMRI to identify brain activation in specific regions related to food motivation and reward.
The researchers decided to target ‘breakfast-skipping’ teens. The reason? First, skipping breakfast has been strongly associated with unhealthy snacking, overeating (especially at night), weight gain and obesity. Second, approximately 60 percent of adolescents’ skip breakfast on a daily basis.
What Research Says
For three weeks, the teens either continued to skip breakfast or consumed 500-calorie breakfast meals (containing average quantities of protein) or higher protein meals. At the end of each week, the volunteers completed appetite and satiety questionnaires. Right before lunch, the volunteers completed a brain scan, using fMRI, to identify brain activation responses.
Compared to breakfast skipping, both breakfast meals led to increased fullness and reduced hunger throughout the morning. The brain scans showed less activity in the areas of the brain related to food cravings. However, the higher protein breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and cravings compared to the normal protein breakfast.
Protein + Breakfast Ideas
• Enjoy a healthy omelet with eggs, turkey and avocado.
• Have a smoothie prepared with pea, rice, or whey protein.
• High protein “dinner leftovers” can work.
• Sugar free yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit and nuts is a nice way to start the day.
• High protein, low sugar cereals and breads can work if you are not gluten sensitive. Nut butter spread is better than jelly or honey.
• Spread peanut or almond butter on an apple or banana.
• Enjoy a small palm full of healthy nuts (walnuts and almonds are great choices).
We Can Help
For other great tips, hundreds of healthy recipes, and interactive journals to help you get thinner, happier and smarter, check out our online support community at BrainFitLife.