High protein breakfastPrevious research has shown that approximately 60% of teens regularly skip breakfast. Many healthcare professionals and nutritionists consider breakfast as “the most important meal of the day” and a strategy to reduce the risk of obesity. There has been limited research done to look at what type of breakfast plays this role in weight management. It can also be very confusing because we constantly been exposed to popular diets being promoted such as intermittent fasting that contradict this view.

Researchers at University of Missouri compared the benefits of consuming a normal protein breakfast to a high protein breakfast and found that the high-protein breakfast (35 g of protein) prevented weight gain from fat, reduced daily caloric intake, increased satiety, and stabilized blood glucose levels among overweight teens who normally skip breakfast.

The research team fed two groups of overweight teens who reported skipping breakfast either normal protein breakfast meals or high protein breakfast meals. A third group of teens continued to skip breakfast for 12 weeks.

As a result, the group of teens who ate high-protein breakfasts reduced their daily food intake by 400 calories and lost body fat mass, while the groups who ate normal-protein breakfast or continued to skip breakfast gained additional body fat. When individuals eat a high protein breakfast, they voluntarily consume less food throughout the rest of the day. Furthermore, the participants that ate a high-protein breakfast had more stable glucose levels than the other groups.

This was also confirmed in a study I came across two weeks demonstrated skipping breakfast promoted unhealthy blood sugar spikes in diabetics. More and more people are skipping breakfast which probably is a combination of busy lifestyles and the intermittent fasting movement. That being said, skipping breakfast is linked to the growing epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular problems as well as a health risk for diabetes.

Research shows that fasting “until noon triggers significant blood sugar spikes and impairs the insulin responses of type-2 diabetics throughout the rest of the day. This was recently published in Diabetes Care and presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting in Boston in June 2015.

Researchers have discovered that the pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin dysfunction due to the prolonged period between one evening’s dinner and the next day’s lunch. As a result, it takes additional time for the beta cells to recover causing delayed insulin responses resulting in significantly elevated blood glucose levels throughout the day. In addition, fasting until lunch increases the fatty acids in our blood, which makes insulin ineffective in reducing blood glucose levels.

The author from this current study also discusses how these large fluctuations in glucose levels are associated with an increased risk of Type II diabetes among young people.

The key is eating 35 grams of high-quality protein. This study confirmed that a high protein breakfast an improve weight management in young people who regularly skip breakfast. With this growing epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance, it is important to educate our teens so they can establish these eating behaviors early on. If they develop good eating habits now, it is much more likely to continue the rest of their lives.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: L B Bauer, L J Reynolds, S M Douglas, M L Kearney, H A Hoertel, R S Shafer, J P Thyfault, H J Leidy. A pilot study examining the effects of consuming a high-protein vs normal-protein breakfast on free-living glycemic control in overweight/obese ‘breakfast skipping’ adolescents. International Journal of Obesity, 2015; DOI:10.1038/ijo.2015.101

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