Protein-rich breakfasts prevent unhealthy snacking

30 March 2011

The latest health research has shown a strong connection between breakfasts high in protein and healthy eating habits. Experts at the University of Missouri have discovered that a protein-rich breakfast helps to stave off nighttime cravings for fatty, sugary snacks.

In a groundbreaking study, Dr Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, closely monitored the eating habits of 20 overweight or obese females aged 18-20. The test subjects were split into three groups: one consumed cereal, another had protein-rich breakfasts and the last skipped the meal entirely.

Participants recorded their consumption via questionnaires and submitted blood samples at regular intervals throughout the day. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were taken prior to dinner to monitor brain signals associated with appetite, reward-driven eating behaviour and satiety.

Analysis showed participants who consumed high-protein breakfasts containing at least 35 grams of protein had increased fullness and fewer food cravings. They were less likely to snack on unhealthy foods later in the day, unlike those who opted for cereal in the morning or skipped breakfast entirely.

Protein-rich breakfasts are part of a heart healthy diet, one which limits fat and sugar intake. Reduced fat and sugar consumption could assist with heart problems, as unhealthy snacking habits worsen many cardiac issues.

Dr Leidy recommended Greek yoghurt, lean beef, cottage cheese, breakfast burritos or ground pork loin as staple ingredients for hearty, protein-rich breakfasts.

Future research will be conducted to examine how high-protein breakfasts effect weight management.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)