|This could have been the HP breakfast. Egg-based pancakes + ham.|
In my more recent articles about the topic I have repeatedly exposed the claim that "not having breakfast is bad for everyone" is total bogus; and while I am not going to go back on that I am about to discuss a study that demonstrates that the right breakfast, i.e. one that's high in protein, may be extremely better than having no breakfast at all.
Said study has been conducted by scientists from the University of Missouri and the Purdue University (Leidy. 2015). It's an investigation into the effects of normal-protein (NP) vs. high-protein (HP) breakfast meals on appetite control, food intake, and body composition in “breakfast skipping” young people with overweight/obesity.
As a SuppVersity reader you'll know that previous studies suggest that as habitual breakfast skippers, the youths are actually not the ideal study object for a study to show beneficial effects of breakfast. After all, a recent study by Thomas et al. showed quite convincingly that "Whether Skipping Breakfast Increases Insulin, Hunger and Blood Lipids Depends on One's Breakfast Habits" (read the article). Is this a problem? Well, it could be if the new study yielded negative results. After all, we'd have to argue that this was to be expected if the subjects were habitual breakfast skippers.
|Table 1: Subject characteristics at baseline (Leidy. 2015). As you can see the subjects were randomly assigned to the three groups at a ratio of 1:2:2 to breakfast skipping, normal protein (NP) and high protein (HP) breakfast.|
|Figure 1: Macronutrient composition (g) of the test meals used in the study (Leidy. 2015)|
One of the two non-pathetic studies comes from Schlundt et al. who examined the effects of consuming breakfast vs. breakfast skipping during a 12-week energy restriction weight loss diet in 52 adult women with obesity without finding significant differences.
More recently, Dhurandhar et al. completed a 16-week study in 309 adults with obesity and included a general recommendation to either "eat breakfast" or "skip breakfast". As it was to be expected when energy intake is controlled for, again, no differences in weight loss were observed in those who began eating breakfast compared to those who continued to skip breakfast.
|Figure 2: Comparison of the changes in fat mass, the daily food intake, hunger and fullness ratings in the subjects from the CON (=kept skipping breakfast), NP (normal protein) and HP (high protein) breakfast groups (Leidy. 2015).|"Breakfast!? An (Un-)Biased (?) Review of the Breakfast Myth" | read it!
- significantly reduced the daily energy intake in the high protein condition and buffered the significant increase in energy intake in the no breakfast condition if the breakfast had a normal protein content,
- reduced the total time during which the subjects were hungry not just in the morning, but 24/7, and
- increased the subjects' fullness, especially in the morning.
In that it's important to highlight that the high protein breakfast outperformed the normal protein breakfast in all relevant categories, i.e. change in body fat, change in daily energy intake and change in hunger ratings, Accordingly, Leidy et al. are right when they highlight only the high protein breakfast in their conclusion which says that
"daily addition of a HP breakfast improved indices of weight management as illustrated by the prevention of body fat gain, voluntary reductions in daily intake, and reductions in daily hunger in breakfast skipping adolescents with overweight/obesity." (Leidy. 2015)In spite of that, we should not forget that even a regular breakfast which contained 15% protein, 65% carbohydrates, and 20% fat and consisted of (you guessed it) ready-to-eat cereals with milk outperformed not having breakfast at all. That's in contrast to some previous studies, most of which used shorter study durations and didn't allow for the habituation that's necessary for breakfast to have effects on the total energy intake, for example, to take place.
- Dhurandhar, Emily J., et al. "The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial." The American journal of clinical nutrition 100.2 (2014): 507-513.
- Leidy, Heather J., et al. "A high‐protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents." Obesity (2015).
- Schlundt, David G., et al. "The role of breakfast in the treatment of obesity: a randomized clinical trial." The American journal of clinical nutrition 55.3 (1992): 645-651.
- Thomas, Elizabeth A., et al. "Usual breakfast eating habits affect response to breakfast skipping in overweight women." Obesity 23.4 (2015): 750-759.