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A breakfast loaded with protein can improve your focus, performance and overall fitness levels. A new study from the University of Missouri, which focused on teenage subjects, showed that a high protein breakfast increases feelings of being full and decreases hunger throughout the day.
“Everyone knows that eating breakfast is important, but many people still don’t make it a priority,” says Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the UM department of nutrition and exercise physiology. “This research provides additional evidence that breakfast is a valuable strategy to control appetite and regulate food intake.”
The study targeted breakfast-skipping teens for two reasons. First, breakfast skipping is strongly associated with unhealthy snacking, overeating [especially at night], weight gain and obesity. Second, approximately 60 percent of adolescents skip breakfast on a daily basis.
The study, which ran for three weeks, placed teen subjects in two groups. One continued to skip breakfast; the other consumed 500-calorie breakfast meals containing cereal and milk [with normal quantities of protein] or higher protein meals such as Belgium waffles and yogurt. At the end of each week, the groups completed appetite and satiety questionnaires. Right before lunch, the teens submitted to brain scans with a functional MRI to identify activation responses.
Compared to breakfast skipping, both breakfast meals led to increased fullness and reductions in hunger throughout the morning. MRI results revealed that eating breakfast allowed athletes to focus better. Brain activation in regions controlling food motivation and reward was reduced.
STACK has previously discussed the importance of a proper breakfast for game-time performance.
A protein-filled breakfast—with eggs, yogurt, peanut butter and waffles—is a great way to control appetite and prevent overeating, which is what leads to extra pounds. Plus, it supplies your body with proper nutrients needed for a hard practice or game. Athletes should not only make sure they eat breakfast, they should also take the time to prepare a healthy, high protein breakfast for best results throughout the day.