The power of protein at breakfast: Higher amounts may deliver more benefits

A higher-protein breakfast provides better appetite and glucose control when compared to lower-protein breakfasts, suggests new research

Many consumers are aware they should make protein a priority at breakfast, but it may be equally important for them to choose an optimal amount of protein to maximize its benefits, suggests new research presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Experimental Biology conference this week. 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 commercially prepared turkey-sausage and egg bowl provided increased feelings of fullness and lesser calorie intake at lunch, when compared to the lower-protein breakfasts.1

“There is great value in understanding protein’s true power when optimal amounts are consumed. 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,” said Dr. Kristin Harris, head of nutrition research at Hillshire Brands. “Hillshire Brands expects to continue to leverage clinical research to drive innovation, which includes delivering consumer-preferred products that meet health and wellness needs.”

Greater satiety through morning and fewer calories consumed at lunch

Dr. Melinda Karalus, lead researcher, tested the short-term satiety effects of six breakfast meals similar in calories, fat and fiber and varied in protein; three turkey-sausage and egg-based breakfast bowls containing 40, 23 and 9 grams of protein, respectively, a cereal and milk breakfast containing eight grams of protein, a pancake and syrup breakfast with three 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 with the lower-protein cereal and pancake and syrup breakfasts, or no breakfast at all.

Blood glucose stability

Other research presented at Experimental Biology 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.2

The abstracts entitled, “The effect of commercially prepared breakfast meals with varying levels of protein on acute satiety in non-restrained women” and “Acute Effects of High Protein, Sausage and Egg-based Convenience Breakfast Meals on Postprandial Glucose Homeostasis in Healthy, Premenopausal Women” were sponsored and funded by Hillshire Brands, Chicago.

1 Karalus, M, et al.The effect of commercially prepared breakfast meals with varying levels of protein on acute satiety in non-restrained women. Abstract presented at Experimental Biology, 2014. 2 Leidy H, et al. Acute Effects of High Protein, Sausage and Egg-based Convenience Breakfast Meals on Postprandial Glucose Homeostasis in Healthy, Premenopausal Women. Abstract presented at Experimental Biology, 2014.


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17 thoughts on “The power of protein at breakfast: Higher amounts may deliver more benefits”

  1. Breakfast is definitely one of the most important meals of the day. I definitely agree that protein is very important for breakfast. Protein tends to help you feel full and satisfied, less hungry. It does this in two ways: by blunting the rise in blood sugar and by staying in your stomach for longer, because it takes the body longer to digest it. I think everyone can agree that eating an egg and a piece of bacon keeps your stomach happier for longer compared to a bowl of cereal. A good breakfast can be the start of a great day.

  2. This is a very beneficial and informative article. Now we know that it is not only important just to have breakfast but to have more protein in the morning to avoid getting hungry very quickly and eating too much food the whole. It also helps so that people can take the right amount of food to work and school. its amazing.

  3. It definitely is essential to eat a protein packed breakfast to control your appetite and regulate your food intake throughout the day. It will keep you satisfied for longer and your energy levels will be kept stable, which will result in eating less throughout the day. I’ve experienced first-hand that eating only protein for breakfast keeps my energy levels up and ensures optimal concentration throughout the morning, but combining carbohydrates and protein for breakfast is the best option because carbs will help keep your memory sharp. It is suggested to aim for 30g of protein and 20-30 g of carbs in the morning. This combination is debatable but I prefer carbs in the morning when it comes to weight-loss and concentration for that is when I need my energy the most.

  4. The research that has been done is very informative. It can most definitely help anyone who is trying to control both their hunger and blood sugar levels. I am usually a person who doesn’t have time for breakfast or would just have something small. I would then feel that I should eat and want to eat more later on because I am so hungry. Thanks to the research done here I am able to control the hunger attacks a bit more and would be able to feel better through the day with a more constant blood sugar.

  5. Knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; i would normally eat anything just to say that i had breakfast. Actually, most of the times i consumed lot of carbohydrates i.e food with sugar since i relied on the slogan “sugar gives you energy” and i would be hungry within a short period of time. Now this post has given me insight about the nutrients a breakfast must contain, then i’ll ensure that a have a breakfast that have proteins.

  6. Breakfast is ideally the most important meal in anyone’s life. Proteins are part of the whole DNA replication and building the body processes. Thus protein for breakfast is extremely important. Everyone is always trying to lower their calorie intake and what better way is there other than punishing or starving yourself – eat protein for breakfast!! Who doesn’t love bacon, boerie and eggs for breakfast? Although the best option would be a less fatty protein breakfast which would lower calorie intake with keeping the cholesterol levels low.

  7. in response to 14064040, i believe the research is based on the amount of protein consumed and not the size portion of the food. Therefore less protein will result in a person getting hungry quicker and eating bigger portion daily.

  8. This research proves to be very helpful and meaningful for most of us, but I disagree with the statement suggesting that choosing a higher-protein breakfast will lead to a smaller amount of calorie intake at lunch.
    Firstly, not everyone consumes the same amount of food daily and, secondly some people will have different time-intervals between breakfast and lunch. The people with different time-intervals between breakfast and lunch will also use this new found information in the same way than others, following the tested duration between meals, this can lead to misuse of information.
    What I mean by this is that people that have longer time intervals in comparison to the tested time intervals can then use this information wrongfully and thus consume more calorie containing food. This can then lead to an excessive amount of protein which will then be converted and stored as fat, depending from person to person.
    Date: 2014/04/29
    Posted by: 14064040

  9. Ever since my former life sciences teacher taught me about all the components of food in life i haven’t forgot but what i didn’t know that i should measure the kind of food i eat in proteins,carbohydrates etc. let alone i never knew that calories are. My focus has always been about breakfast being the best and important meal of the day.this article has has enlightened me.

  10. As a female I know that woman are constantly in a struggle with their weight. As a result a lot of us tend to skip breakfast, since skipping a meal seems like the most obvious thing to do, and breakfast is the easiest to skip. But skipping meal-especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. It is proven that breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.

    This article once more confirms how much harm instead of good we do to our bodies by not eating breakfast.
    Protein forms the building block for the cells throughout our body and is necessary, not only for weight control and managing your meals throughout the day, but also for healthy skin, nails, muscles, cartilage and blood. It also helps to build and repair bodily tissues and is used to produce both hormones and enzymes.
    If all of this benefits are kept in mind, it is really a lot easier to convince yourself to eat a protein packed breakfast. Instead of thinking about the all of the calories, think about all of the benefits. In the end it will do you more good than bad after all.

  11. A protein-rich breakfast has proven to be both beneficial to one’s appetite and brain activity. Research has shown that protein provides the brain with the necessary amino acids to optimize performance. These amino acids help produce neurotransmitters, resulting in increased energy levels and alertness.

    How protein is eaten should also be considered. Combining protein with complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains will provide a balanced meal. This combination will balance blood glucose levels and control appetite, allowing one to remain fuller for longer.

    Written by: u14072573
    Submitted: 28/04/2014

  12. its really a great observation indeed and helpful. i was catch in that incident , where i would wake up full every morning and when it’s lunch time i would eat more than enough. will eat like i’m eating for 4 until i was that fatty ,moody and depressed lady it didn’t affect me only physical but even emotional. breakfast became the most important meal in my everyday to day. having breakfast full of proteins it’s the best thing you can give yourself every morning. now i have a secret to share with my friends and family. you are what you eat

  13. I always knew that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, but I have to admit I didn’t know what a big role your protein intake actually plays when consuming breakfast. Knowing it tends to keep you fuller for longer and therefore is very beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but now it’s a lot more clear why numerous nutritional diets always require a high protein consumption.

  14. It is well known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day yet individuals still neglect it. This article is a clear indication that it is not important just to eat something for breakfast but what you eat is of equal importance.

    It is good to know that eating a breakfast with a high protein content changes your whole day’s eating pattern for the better. What makes protein an even more appealing food group is that it has other advantages like helping with weight loss and it can influence your mood to make you less depressing for instance.

    One thing the article neglects to inform individuals of is that one must be careful not to over-consume protein since it can result in heart disease among other things.

  15. Breakfast is a highly recommended meal of the day . This is a very useful article. It is emphatic on which type of nutrients must it contain. Breakfast that is high protein is approved because it improves an appetite and in this way hunger is controlled.

  16. I agree that people should invest in purchasing breakfast foods that are high in protein, as a high protein breakfast has it’s benefits. It increases the feeling of fullness thus lesser calorie later in the day. On the other hand other breakfast meals have their benefits too for example one that contain high fiber for stomach regulation and bowl movement. So when one chooses a meal in the morning they should consider what will be good for them

  17. It is a wonderful observation/research, since it is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what one eats for breakfast determines what that individual will consume through out the day. This observation could be the answer of why many people tender to over eat, which many at times results to obesity and weight gain, therefore if proteins are consumed for breakfast the effect on an individual’s energy levels could improve work efficiency and stabilize the blood glucose in one’s system.

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