There is a consensus that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But if your end goal is to lose weight, not all breakfast is designed for you to achieve your result.
Protein forms part of the big three macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) that our body needs. Protein is broken down into amino acids, and forms part of the immune system, neurotransmitters, help build and repair muscle tissue, form part of our DNA
A high-protein breakfast may help with weight loss because of the unique ways that protein regulates appetite and satiates hunger. Diets rich in protein take long hours to digest, so they keep you full longer than other foods. Protein also keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which contributes to reduced desire to eat and body composition that occurs after a dramatic drop in blood sugar. You burn more calories eating protein since the body requires more energy to digest the nutrient than it does fat or carbohydrates.
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016, young men who were on calorie-restricted diets were instructed to eat either a low- or high-protein diet. They all also did resistance and high-intensity interval training six days a week. Those in the higher-protein and exercise group increased their lean body mass and lost more fat compared to the lower-protein eaters. Another study conducted by Heather Leidy, assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, found that overweight teens who took breakfast rich in protein felt fuller longer and were less hungry throughout the day compared to when they ate a low-protein breakfast or skipped the morning meal altogether. Consuming a high-protein breakfast was also associated with a reduced appetite to snack among the participants.
As we get older, it is even more important to aim for the 30-gram protein mark because our body’s ability to build and repair muscle becomes impaired. Consuming 30 grams of protein at breakfast can help prevent or slow the decline in muscle loss that occurs naturally with aging.
Many active individuals, most especially newbies in body-building believe that eating more protein equals more muscle. Not so. Protein alone does nothing to build muscle tissue: a progressive training regimen is necessary to provide muscles the constant challenge they need to continue to adapt. Muscles adapt quickly to the demands of exercise, so it’s important to keep exercise constantly varied to see the best gains in lean tissue.
While eating more protein at breakfast is a good idea for cutting down some weight, what matters at the end of the day is your calorie intake. Consuming more calories more than your body burns won’t cause you to lose weight, no matter the quantity of protein you eat.
To achieve your 30-gram protein mark at breakfast, protein-rich foods you might want to consider are Greek yogurt, protein bars, tuna, wild fish, whole grains, beans, reduced fat cottage cheese, protein shakes, turkey bacon or turkey sausage, oat, quinoa, white meat. You can decide to get creative with eggs by preparing frittatas, egg sandwiches,
Is too Much Protein Bad for Your Health?
The danger of excess protein is a controversial topic in the health community. While a high-protein diet has its potential benefit, it’s important to highlight some of its risks
- Weight gain. A high-protein diet may promote weight loss, but only for a short term. An excess protein diet is usually deposited as fat in the body, while the surplus of the amino acid is excreted. This can lead to weight gain, especially if too many calories are consumed while increasing protein intake
- Constipation: High-protein diets that are deficient in carbohydrate are usually low in fibers. Increasing fiber and water intake will help in better bowel movement and prevent constipation.
- Osteoporosis: There are many factors that influence bone mass, but protein has been identified as being both detrimental and beneficial to bone health. The high protein content of Western diets is often cited as a risk factor for osteoporosis or bone fractures. High protein intakes have been shown to affect calcium homeostasis, resulting in increased calcium excretion, but findings regarding the effect of protein on calcium balance and bone health have been mixed. One study suggests that, as a result of increased urinary calcium excretion with high protein intake, there is an increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis. As protein intake increases, there is an increase in urinary calcium, with most subjects developing negative calcium balance
- Kidney damage: While no major studies link high protein intake to kidney disease in healthy people, excess protein does force your kidneys to work harder and can cause problems for people with existing medical conditions. Dietary protein is broken down into amino acids which contain nitrogen, which the kidneys must excrete. Eating too much protein can stress these organs, contributing to existing disease.
- Heart disease: Eating a lot of protein derived from both plants and animals has been linked to an elevated risk of cardiovascular failure. This could be related to higher intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating poultry, fish and nuts lowered the risk
- Bad breath: Eating large amounts of protein can lead to halitosis (also known as bad breath), especially if you restrict your carbohydrate intake. This could be because your body is forced into a starvation state called ketosis, which causes your body to generate acidic chemicals that give off an unpleasant fruity smell similar to what is seen in diabetics. Brushing and flossing won’t get rid of the smell. You can double your water intake, brush your teeth more often, and chew gum to counter some of this effect.
- Increased cancer risk: High-protein diets have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, possibly due to increased levels of meat-based protein consumption. Eating more red meat is associated with colon, breast, and prostate cancer. This could probably due to hormones, carcinogenic compounds and saturated founds in meat
Atherton, P., & Smith, K. (2012). Muscle protein synthesis in response to nutrition and exercise. The Journal Of Physiology, 590(5), 1049-1057. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.225003
Breakfast: Why It’s Important. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/breakfast-most-important-meal#6
Colletto, D. (2018). 6 Ways to Get 30 grams of Protein at Breakfast. Retrieved from http://mikeroussell.com/5-ways-to-get-30-grams-of-protein-at-breakfast/
Mamerow, M., Mettler, J., English, K., Casperson, S., Arentson-Lantz, E., & Sheffield-Moore, M. et al. (2014). Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults. The Journal Of Nutrition, 144(6), 876-880. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185280