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June 5, 2013 • Weight Control

Protein Rich Breakfast for Better Appetite Control

Consuming breakfast with a nice dose of protein may be a powerful strategy to help us eat less, especially later in the day. In a novel study conducted in a group of overweight young adults who regularly skipped breakfast, researchers found that including a protein-rich breakfast reduced appetite throughout the day and decreased evening snacking. For the evaluation, the study subjects either skipped breakfast or consumed one of two different breakfasts equal in all aspects except protein content. One breakfast was high in protein either from lean meat or eggs and the other had a typical protein content from a ready-to-eat cereal. The study subjects recorded their appetites throughout the day and had MRI scans of their brains prior to dinner to examine activity in the areas of the brain involved in seeking food. Relative to the no breakfast and the normal protein breakfasts, study subjects who ate the high protein breakfast reported better hunger control over the day, had decreased brain activity in areas that promote food cravings, and ate less high-fat and high-sugar evening snacks.


For optimal appetite control throughout the day, be sure your breakfast includes a nice kick of protein. Here are my top picks:

  1. Raw or roasted nuts
  2. Nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
  3. 1% or skim milk
  4. Nonfat or low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt (has double the protein of standard yogurt!)
  5. Cheeses made from 2% milk or part-skim milk
  6. Smoked or canned salmon
  7. Low-fat cottage cheese
  8. Omega 3 fortified eggs
  9. High protein cereals
  10. Hemp kernels/seeds (I love the Nature’s Earthly Choice brand – I get the big bag from Costco.)
  11. Protein powders – hemp, whey, soy etc. (especially convenient for smoothies)
  12. Plain unsweetened soy milk


(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 97:4, 2013)