Protein-rich breakfast curbs teens’ urge to snack, researchers say
By Jay Keller
Getting teens to do anything can be a losing battle in some households but new research suggests there’s hope for parents looking to curb their teen’s inclination to cut breakfast and later snack on foods filled with extra calories from fat and sugar.
Skipping breakfast is a nutritional “no-no”: According to the U.S. dietary guidelines, the habit of not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight, especially among children and adolescents.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics say at least 20 percent of U.S. adolescents are “breakfast skippers,” especially teenagers.
Researchers at the University of Missouri published research on Monday suggesting that eating a protein-rich breakfast – one that includes lean ham or pork sausage – reduces daily hunger, increases daily fullness and improves the control of blood-sugar levels in the morning.
The study also found that teens who included lean protein in the morning snacked less often, ate smaller portions and consumed fewer calories between meals.
“Based on this research, taking the time each morning to eat a healthy breakfast – one consisting of about 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 40 percent of calories from protein – leads to reduced snacking later in the day thanks to the satiating effects of protein early in the day,” research lead Dr. Heather Leidy said on Monday in a statement.
The findings were part of a 12-week study presented this week at Experimental Biology that that found teens who were assigned to eat a high-protein breakfast experienced a decreased intake of approximately 400 calories later in the day.
Both breakfast groups, totaling 54 teenage boys and girls, consumed 350-calorie meals with equal amounts of fat (20%) but the lower-protein group consumed high-carbohydrate cereals.
The high-protein group, for example, consumed meals such as pork and egg burritos, lean ham with protein-rich pancakes and raspberry syrup.
This 400-calorie decrease in the high-protein breakfast group was due to “voluntarily eating fewer high-fat/high-sugar snacks in the late afternoon and evening.”
In other words, the teens simply chose to eat less on their own without any external restrictions or guidance, according to the findings.
The findings are consistent with past research that links the benefits of high-protein meals to help curb late-night snacks for men and appetite control for overweight or obese adolescent females, researchers say.
“Increasing evidence suggests that incorporating lean pork into the diet can help with appetite control and body weight management, while also providing key nutrients that growing teens and adults alike need in their daily diet,” Leidy added.