Benefits of a protein-rich breakfast

Women who consumed protein-containing breakfasts maintained better blood glucose and insulin levels than those with lower protein or no protein meals

We have been told that that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and now recent research further indicates this.

Several health benefits have been associated with having a daily breakfast including weight loss, improved concentration and performance in the classroom or boardroom and lower cholesterol levels.  Not only is having breakfast important, but what we choose to eat at breakfast time is just as important.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals. 

Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual’s risk of developing diabetes over time. 

The researchers, Heather Leidy and Kevin Maki, studied women aged 18-55 years who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days.  The tested meals were less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fibre contents. 

However, the protein content varied: a pancake meal with 3 grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast with 39 grams of protein.  Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants’ blood for four hours after they ate breakfast.

The results revealed that both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast.  In addition, the higher-protein breakfast led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high protein breakfast. 

These findings suggest that for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options. 

Based on the study’s findings, the researchers are hopeful that the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts would also benefit individuals with pre-diabetes, although further research is needed.  This research highlights the importance of including a good source of protein at breakfast each day. 

Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs or cheese.

My tip: Limit sources of sugar at breakfast time, such as orange juice and sugary cereals which can further upset blood sugar balance throughout the day.
University of Missouri-Columbia. Women who consume high protein breakfasts may decrease their risk for diabetes. Medical News Today 2014.   

Posted: May 15, 2014