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Can a High Protein Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?

What do you usually eat for breakfast? Maybe it’s a bagel, muffin (or vitamuffin top), toast, a nonfat yogurt and fruit, or a bowl of cereal. The typical American breakfast is mainly carbs and contains only about 15% of our daily protein intake. So let’s say you eat one of these lower protein higher carb breakfasts. Do you find yourself thinking about your next meal or snack a few hours after breakfast? Do you experience sugar cravings? If so, your lack of protein at breakfast may be the culprit. For those of you who are trying to lose weight, you may want to rethink your high carb breakfast choices.  (Obviously this young woman can eat bagels and remain thin. Wait until she is in her 30’s and 40’s… enjoy it now!)

A recent study from the British Journal of Nutriton has shown that increasing your protein intake at breakfast can help you feel fuller and more satiated throughout the day. This in turn can make it easier to stick to your weight loss plan. The researchers also tested high protein lunches and dinners but found the greatest feeling of satiety came with the high protein breakfasts.

The study used Canadian bacon and eggs as the protein sources. Now I am certainly not recommending that you eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day. However, this study proves an important point that eating more protein at breakfast can help you feel fuller throughout the day. Numerous studies in the past have reported on the satiating effect of protein. However this is the first study that I’m aware of that demonstrates that having more protein at breakfast keeps you the fullest longer.

Compare these high protein breakfast choices with the lower protein ones:

Breakfast recommendations:
1. Breakfast is often the one meal you can control. Take a few minutes in the morning to eat it! Eating breakfast on the run usually leads to poor choices.

2. If you really can’t make the time to eat at home, take a healthy breakfast with you on your way to work. You also might want to leave some appropriate breakfast foods at work including: yogurt (look for the higher protein Greek yogurts!), fruit, cottage cheese, whole grain higher protein cereals.

3. Pay attention to how various breakfast choices make you feel. Do you find yourself ravenous an hour or two after having cereal or toast for breakfast? If so, try a higher protein breakfast. Many studies have shown that higher protein meals tend to keep us feeling fuller longer.

4. I agree that it is good idea to include protein at meals – however don’t use this as an excuse to load up on eggs, cheese and bacon for breakfast! You should still be paying attention to good nutrition. While I see no problem with having this kind of breakfast on occasion, I wouldn’t recommend it on a daily basis.  Try to focus more on protein that is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol such as egg whites or substitutes, low fat cottage cheese and yogurt, high protein cereals.

5. In addition, fiber can help you feel fuller longer. Try to include fruit and / or whole grain bread or cereal at breakfast (look for the higher protein cereals such as Kashi)

6. Lastly, I didn’t mention peanut butter in the above meals because it didn’t total up to 17 grams of protein or more. However, many of my clients feel 1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter on whole wheat toast is a delicious filling breakfast. The fat (heart healthy fat!) tends to hold you longer. This breakfast would be 310 calories and 10 grams of protein.

 
*If any of you checked out the link on the study, you may have noticed that it note that was funded by the American Egg Board, the Egg Nutrition Center, and the National Pork Board. Normally I might be skeptical of the results in view of the groups who funded the study. However numerous other studies have also shown the higher protein meals tend to be more satiating …. so I have believe the results!

Test out a higher protein breakfast and let us know if it helps you to feel more full longer. The goal is to feel full longer so you eat smaller meals later and snack less. Fewer calories in = more weight loss.

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I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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