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Protein-rich breakfast wards off overeating

Last Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 12:19

Washington: If you want to stay healthy, regularly eat breakfasts full of proteins. Eating a protein-rich breakfast keeps you satisfied and wards off overeating, which has become the bane of a modern, stress-filled life.

Researchers at the Missouri University relying on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) also found that such a breakfast reduces the brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviour.

Eating healthy, protein-rich breakfasts, such as waffles made with protein powder, can be a simple strategy for improving appetite control and preventing overeating, the journal Obesity reports.

"Everyone knows that eating breakfast is important, but many people still don`t make it a priority," said Heather Leidy, assistant professor in nutrition and exercise physiology at Missouri.

Researchers measured appetite sensations and hormonal markers along with reward-driven motivation to eat, using fMRI technology to identify brain activity bearing on food motivation and reward, according to a Missouri statement.

They decided to target `breakfast-skipping` teens for two reasons, Leidy said. First, breakfast-skipping has been strongly associated with unhealthy snacking, overeating (at night), weight gain and obesity. Second, 60 percent of adolescents skip breakfast on a daily basis.

For three weeks, the teens either continued to skip breakfast or consumed 500-calorie breakfasts containing cereal and milk (with normal quantities of protein) or higher protein meals prepared as Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.

At the end of each week, they 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 reductions in hunger throughout morning. Additionally, the higher protein breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behaviour compared to the normal protein breakfast.


First Published: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 12:19

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