Further Evidence Supporting the Importance of Breakfast

breakfast protein importantA new study from the University of Missouri has found that eating breakfast, particularly a protein-rich breakfast, induces feelings of fullness and reduces hunger throughout the day. While nutrition experts have been telling us for years how important it is to eat breakfast, many people are still ignoring the advice.

This study, published in the journal Obesity, examined teenagers because statistics show that 60% teens regularly skip breakfast.  According to an article about the study published by ScienceDaily, the researchers asked the teens to either continue to skip breakfast or consume 500-calorie breakfast meals of cereal and milk or a higher protein meal of Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.  The teens completed appetite and satiety questionnaires at the end of each week. Right before lunch, they underwent a brain scan, using fMRI, to identify brain activation responses.

The results showed that both breakfast meals led to increased satiety and reductions in hunger throughout the morning compared to skipping breakfast. The article explains that “The fMRI results showed that brain activation in regions controlling food motivation and reward was reduced prior to lunch time when breakfast was consumed in the morning. The higher protein breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behavior compared to the normal protein breakfast.” These findings suggest that a protein-rich breakfast might be a good strategy to control appetite and prevent overeating in teenagers.

Dr. Emma Patterson told us, “This study used functional MRI, which is a brain imaging technology that invigorated neuroscience research in the early 1990s. They found that eating breakfast, and particularly a high-protein breakfast, produced increased fullness and decreased hunger, and these responses were seen on functional MRI as activation of the areas of the brain related to food motivation and reward. This is an important step toward understanding hunger and satiety, which is an important component of the battle against the obesity epidemic.”

You can read ScienceDaily’s article about the study here.

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