Having a breakfast high in protein lowers cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods and suppresses appetite during the day.
To get high amounts of protein, people could have eggs, fish or meat-based foods such as burritos, dairy, such as plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
Eating more calories in the morning and less in the evening can double weight loss, studies have found.
Out of all the meals, breakfast is the most important one throughout the day, but 60 percent of young American adults skip it.
Skipping breakfast is common, especially for teenagers in which the habit is strongly linked to weight gain, increased BMI and obesity.
A study found that a high-protein breakfast increased daily fullness, reduced evening snacking, and improved diet quality of overweight or obese young adults.
Dr Heather Leidy and colleague compared a high-protein (HP) breakfast with a normal-protein (NP) in overweight or obese young females.
The HP breakfast meals reduced by 60 percent their daily hunger and improved their fullness or “satiety” by 30 percent, and suppressed the daily ghrelin response by 20 percent.
Ghrelin or the “hunger hormone” is produced mainly by the stomach and it is responsible for increased appetite.
The level of ghrelin increases before meals when a person is hungry and goes back to normal levels after meals.
In this study the HP breakfast consisted of lean beef, eggs, dairy, and plant-based foods while the NP breakfast consisted of ready-to-eat cereal.
The HP breakfast contained 35 g protein, which is about 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 20 percent fat.
The daily energy for either HP or NP breakfast meals was 350 kcal to make up 18 percent of daily energy intake.
Dr Leidy said:
“Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks.
These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”
Those who skip their breakfast for a long time don’t need to be worried about how their body reacts when starting to have breakfast again.
According to Dr Leidy, it normally takes three days for the body to adjust to morning meals and eating early.
The study was published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Leidy et al., 2013).