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High-Protein Breakfast Foods Increase Satiety

<p>Protein may become a higher priority in breakfast foods due to its positive effect on satiety and reduction of calorie consumption throughout the day, according to new research published in the Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.</p>

CHICAGO—Protein may become a higher priority in breakfast foods due to its positive effect on satiety and reduction of calorie consumption throughout the day, according to new research published in the Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Researchers found that when comparing common breakfasts with varying amounts of protein—a commercially prepared turkey-sausage and egg bowl, cereal and milk, and pancakes with syrup—choosing the higher-protein commercial prepared turkey-sausage and egg bowl provided increased feelings of fullness and lesser calorie intake at lunch compared to the lower-protein breakfasts.

Eating more protein in the morning reduces brain responses involved in food cravings, and it may decrease unhealthy snacking throughout the entire day and into the evening. For people with a habit of skipping breakfast, adding protein to a morning meal may also increase their ability to concentrate throughout the rest of the day.

Melinda Karalus, lead researcher at Hillshire Brands, tested the short-term satiety effects of six breakfast meals that were similar in calories, fat and fiber, but varied in protein. She used three turkey-sausage and egg-based breakfast bowls containing 40, 23 and 9 grams of protein, a cereal and milk breakfast containing 8 grams of protein, a pancake and syrup breakfast with 3 grams of protein, or no breakfast.

Participants were asked to rate their level of hunger before breakfast and at 30-minute intervals for four hours. After four hours, a pasta lunch was served and test subjects were asked to eat until comfortably full. Participants who ate the higher-protein breakfasts had improved appetite ratings throughout the morning, and they also consumed fewer calories during lunch, compared to the lower-protein cereal and pancake and syrup breakfasts, or no breakfast at all. 

“There is great value in understanding protein’s true power when optimal amounts are consumed," said Kristin Harris, head of nutrition research at Hillshire Brands. “Protein is top of mind, but consumers should be more informed about how much protein they need at each meal occasion so they can maximize benefits, like hunger control."

Other research presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Experimental Biology conference further supports the benefits of optimal amounts of protein at breakfast. A different team of researchers found that a commercially prepared sausage and egg breakfast containing 39 grams of protein better stabilized blood glucose levels after eating when compared to a commercially prepared sausage and egg breakfast containing 30 grams of protein, and a pancake and syrup breakfast containing 3 grams of protein.

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