Milk Makes Breakfast Go Farther

Healthnotes Newswire (July 23, 2009)—If you’re looking for a way to stretch that satisfied feeling a little longer in the morning, the answer might be waiting on your refrigerator shelf. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that drinking a glass of skim milk instead of fruit juice with breakfast helps curb the appetite and leads to less lunchtime eating.

Some studies have linked higher dairy consumption with weight loss, while others have found no such association. In an attempt to shed more light on the dairy-weight loss connection, Australian researchers designed the new study that compared the satiating effects of milk with that of a fruit drink in 34 overweight men and women.

The people were given a breakfast of two pieces of toast with jam and margarine and 2.5 cups of skim milk. For the next four hours, they reported on their feelings of fullness, satisfaction, and appetite. At lunchtime, they were given a platter of sandwiches and asked to eat until they were comfortably full. One week later, the study was repeated using reconstituted fruit juice in place of the milk.

“It does a body good”

When the people drank skim milk with breakfast, they ate significantly less at lunchtime and reported feeling much more satisfied during the between meal hours than when they drank the fruit juice. “The results suggest that replacing sugary drinks with skim milk may influence total energy intake,” said the study’s authors.

It’s unclear what component of the milk led to decreased feelings of hunger and less calorie consumption at lunchtime; the higher protein content of milk most likely explains the observed effect. Future studies should compare milk with other high-protein breakfast foods, such as eggs or protein concentrates (like rice protein powder) to rule out the possibility that protein, not milk itself, is responsible for the appetite-suppressant effect.

Best breakfast bets

Breakfast literally means breaking the fast. It’s important to refuel after the long nighttime eating hiatus with protein-rich foods to gently restore blood sugar levels and prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.

Eat dinner for breakfast. Don’t be afraid to really beef up at breakfast time; you have the rest of the day to burn off these calories. Try a slice of turkey or some leftover fish from last night’s dinner.

Skip the requisite orange juice. Opt for a whole orange, instead, which has all of the vitamin C, plus fiber to help avoid the blood sugar rush that pure fruit juice can cause.

Go eggs! An inexpensive, great protein source, eggs can be worked into any breakfast. Try them soft boiled, poached, over-easy, or mixed with a splash of milk to make French toast.

(Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:70–5)

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, and now sees patients in East Greenwich and Wakefield. Inspired by her passion for healthful eating and her own young daughters, Dr. Beauchamp is currently writing a book about optimizing children’s health through better nutrition.

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