Eat a high-protein breakfast to lose weight and get more out of your workouts. Breakfast is vitally important for success in the gym and in your career because it will set you up for superior brain function all day long.
A new study in the International Journal of Obesity reminds us of the many benefits of eating a high-protein breakfast. In this study, young students who routinely skipped breakfast were split into three groups. One group was allowed to skip breakfast like normal, one group ate a normal protein breakfast of buttermilk pancakes (18 g of protein, 95 g of carbs, 7 g of fat), and one group ate a high-protein breakfast of whey pancakes (49 g protein, 62 g carbs, 7 g of fat). Calories were equal for the breakfasts.
The students who ate the high-protein breakfast reported they felt more full and satisfied for a longer period than the other two groups, and they registered less hunger at all measured time points throughout the day. They also freely chose to eat 130 calories less at lunch than both of the other groups. The hormonal profile of the high-protein group indicated better appetite control and regulation of metabolism than both other groups.
Interestingly, in the group that ate the normal protein breakfast, calorie intake at lunch was the same as in the breakfast skippers. The group that at the buttermilk pancake breakfast were equally as hungry as the breakfast skippers by lunch time, indicating the ineffectiveness of this meal profile if you want to lose weight and manage cravings or feelings of hunger. Although not considered a “low protein” meal, the protein was simply inadequate, coming only from dairy and eggs (no meat), and the breakfast contained very high-glycemic carbs, which will produce an initial spike in blood sugar followed by a rapid decline, leading to hunger and carb cravings.
This study didn’t measure cognitive function or mood following the breakfasts, but another analysis in Nutrition Research Reviews shows that protein-rich breakfasts will be arousing and improve motivation and reaction time because of how the protein affects chemical transmitters in the body. Protein-rich breakfasts will elevate the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine to motivate you to train and increase brain function throughout the day. In contrast, carb-rich breakfasts will favor an increase in serotonin, leading to a sedative effect.
Take away a commitment to always eating a high-protein breakfast. You’ll have better body composition, get more out of your training, and have a better working brain. To get more high-protein breakfast ideas, read about the Poliquin Meat and Nut Breakfast
Gibson, E., Green, M. Nutritional Influences on Cognitive Function: Mechanisms of Susceptibility. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2002. 15, 169-206.
Leidy, J., Rcki, E. The Addition of a Protein-Rich Breakfast and its Effects on Acute Control and Food Intake in “Breakfast-Skipping” Adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2010. 34, 1125-1133.