Synchronicity is an interesting thing. The International Journal of Obesity has an article in the Ahead of Publication section of its online journal showing that replacing bagels with eggs for breakfast increases weight loss, which article I wrote about in my last post. Now comes the British Journal of Nutrition, and in its Ahead of Publication section of this month’s online journal there is an article titled: Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times.
The authors of this paper present data that adds to the idea that consuming protein for breakfast as part of a calorically-restricted diet leads to decreased hunger and food intake during the remainder of the day. And this particular paper even adds to the data showing that even minimal decreases of carbohydrate intake along with a little extra protein bring about good things.
Here is how the study was done (and I’m sorry because it is difficult to follow – I had to diagram it to figure out what was going on. If you don’t want to drive yourself crazy going through all the individual diets, just skip down to the last couple of paragraphs and read the conclusions).
All subjects had their caloric or energy requirements calculated as being 1.5 times their resting metabolic rates (RMR) as determined by the Harris-Benedict equation, the most commonly used equation for calculating RMR. Once these energy requirements were determined subjects were started on one of a number of dietary variations.
The two basic diet variations were a normal protein, energy-balanced diet (NP-EB) and a high-protein, energy-balanced diet (HP-EB). These two energy-balanced diets provided the total number of calories as calculated to meet the energy requirements of the individual subjects. The macronutrient breakdown by percentages of total energy for the NP-EB was (protein/carb/fat) 11/64/25. That of the HP-EB: 18/57/25.
Then there were two energy restricted diets (ER). A high-protein, energy-restricted diet (HP-ER) and a normal-protein, energy-restricted diet (NP-ER). Both diets contained 750 fewer kcal than the EB diets. These ER diets contained the following macronutrient percentages:
NP-ER 14/61/25 and the HP-ER 25/50/25
Now, as if this weren’t complicated enough, the HP diets had the protein content changed so that a substantial portion of it was during the breakfast meal in one trial, in the lunch meal in another, and in dinner in yet another. All subjects all followed all these diet variations for 6 days each.
Without getting into all the data, which are even more difficult to keep straight than the diets themselves, the results showed pretty much the same thing that the egg/bagel breakfast study showed. If people are not trying to restrict calories and are on high-carb diets, it doesn’t make any difference when most of the protein is consumed. But if people are cutting calories while trying to lose weight, it does make a difference. This study like the egg/bagel study shows that loading the protein to the breakfast meal reduces hunger throughout the day.
So, once again, if you have friends or loved ones who won’t hop on the low-carb bandwagon with you and decide instead to cut fat and calories while keeping carbs high, you can give them a little nudge in the right direction by at least getting them to eat their protein for breakfast.
More on protein for breakfast