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Breakfast protein is key to weight loss

Woman's midriff with measuring tape
One answer to obesity is staring product innovators in the breakfast plate.

Winning the battle of the bulge lies in high-protein breakfasts, according to research revealed at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting in Chicago July 12-14.

“Eating a high-protein breakfast sustains fullness even to the evening hours,” says Heither Leidy, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. “So there is something about eating protein for breakfast.”

The typical American’s protein consumption during the day comprises about 10 grams for breakfast, 17 grams for lunch, 6 grams in snacks and 65 grams for dinner, Leidy said.

Other researchers have said that a more healthful diet would even out those ratios to about 20 grams for each of the three meals a day.

“Compared to skipping breakfast or no breakfast, a high-protein breakfast led to increased daily satiety and decreased evening food cravings,” Leidy said of studies in overweight, breakfast-skipping teens. “It even decreases unhealthy high-fat, high-sugar evening snacking foods. So high-protein breakfasts can have effects on poor eating throughout the day.”

The net effect on calorie consumption is along the lines of a net reduction of 400 calories a day, which leads to reduced fat mass, she said.

Thirty grams of protein for breakfast does it. Research comparing 30 grams protein to 15 grams protein showed that only the higher level led to a significant two-hour fullness feeling.

“There’s this threshold of 30 grams,” Leidy said. That suggests product developers should re-distribute protein from dinner to breakfast.

And, since research shows that consumers think breakfast should be mostly about nutrition and least about taste, it takes off the table—to some extent—concerns about taste.

An 8-ounce serving of low-fat cottage cheese might contain 23 grams of protein, while 8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt can contains 27 grams of protein. Three ounces of ground beef contains 22 grams of protein.

Steak and eggs for breakfast, anyone?

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