Protein-packed breakfasts best for healthy weight loss

Protein-packed breakfasts best for healthy weight loss

What did you have for breakfast today?  If you’re trying to lose extra pounds or prevent them to begin with, consuming a high protein breakfast may be an answer.  There’s more research than ever demonstrating how a high-protein breakfast is being used as a successful strategy in promoting weight loss and/or preventing weight gain both in teenagers and adults. 

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Often been touted as “the most important meal of the day,” breakfast is already well-known for improving concentration, memory and energy levels - now a high-protein breakfasts’ effectiveness for weight loss is becoming more and more apparent. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested how a high-protein breakfast can be a useful tool for weight loss, particularly in teenagers.  So what defines how much protein should be in a high-protein breakfast?   The magic number(s) appear to be between 25-35 grams.  The average American consumes far short of that with approximately only 10 to 15 grams at breakfast with the protein source often coming from high-sugar breakfast cereals. 

It’s even worse for those who skip breakfast – breakfast skippers have a strong correlation with having increased weight gain, a higher body mass index (BMI) and a tendency towards obesity. 

There are three primary reasons why a high-protein breakfast of 25-35 grams of protein promotes weight loss:

1.     It leads to a decreased appetite and increased feeling of satiety. That extra protein helps target appetite control by reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing the gut hormone peptide YY, helping you feeling fuller longer.

2.     Eating a high-protein packed breakfast reduces areas in the brain that stimulate food motivation/reward when you either consume a low-protein breakfast or skip breakfast altogether.

3.     High-protein breakfasts improve the quality of the diet by replacing unhealthy evening snacking with obtaining nutrient-rich foods at breakfast.

The key in preventing or reducing weight gain is not just a high-protein breakfast but choosing high-quality protein sources.  High-quality protein refers to proteins that provide all of the essential amino acids in a proportion needed by the human body.  The best sources of high-quality, high-protein sources to choose from include:

·      Eggs

·      Lean beef, chicken, turkey, lean pork

·      Cottage cheese

·      Greek yogurt

·      Tofu or other soy products

·      Whey protein

Consuming a breakfast composed mainly of carbohydrates with minimal protein can lead to spikes in blood sugar and leaving you with a feeling of still being hungry. 

When eaten in combination with carbohydrates, protein slows down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream.  This can help keep blood sugar levels low, which prevents additional food cravings.

So, when trying to lose or prevent weight gain, one of the things you need to do is always eat a breakfast with high-quality, high-protein food sources such as these ideas:

Egg Scramble (26g of protein)
Scramble one whole egg and two egg whites and cook. Place on slice of 100% whole wheat bread and top with 1 ounce light Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons avocado.

Greek Yogurt Parfait (26g of protein)
Top 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 4 tablespoons of almonds and 1 cup of fresh blueberries

For more ideas on how to pack in protein to the start of your day, here are some healthy breakfast recipes each containing approximately 30 grams of protein: High-Protein Breakfast Tacos; Nut and Berry parfait; and Broccoli-Parmesan Omelet.