A Protein-Rich Breakfast Can Enhance Satiety And Concentration

A recent Danish study investigated the correlation between diet and cognitive function, and the output revealed that a protein-rich breakfast can improve satiety and concentration. According to a researcher at Aarhus University, this is important information in a society with escalating obesity rates and lifestyle-related disorders. 

This study has provided scientific support for the very old saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” The study included 30 obese women aged 18 to 30 and monitored them for three days. During the time span, the women either consumed a protein-rich breakfast, a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, or skipped breakfast completely. Measurements of women's sense of satiety, hormone levels, and energy intake were taken at lunchtime. Their total daily energy intake and cognitive concentration test were calculated as well. 

 “We found that a protein-rich breakfast with skyr (a sour milk product) and oats increased satiety and concentration in the participants, but it did not reduce the overall energy intake compared to skipping breakfast or eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast,” says Mette Hansen, associate professor and PhD at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, and one of the authors of the study. 

The problem of obesity is rising across the world, and it often brings lifestyle-related diseases like type 2 diabetes. The report further states that previous studies have shown that people who eat breakfast have a lower BMI than people who skip the morning meal and protein-rich foods generally have an increased satiety effect compared to carbohydrate-rich and high-fat foods with the same calorie count. The idea was therefore to know whether a protein-rich breakfast could be a good idea to achieve greater satiety during the day and thus reduce daily calorie intake. 

However, the solution is not that simple, said Mette Hansen: “The results confirm that protein-rich meals increase a sense of satiety, which is positive in preventing weight gain. However, the results also suggest that for this nutritional strategy to be effective, it's not enough to just eat a protein-rich breakfast.” The study has also stated that the potential of switching a carbohydrate-rich diet with a protein-rich one is evident in the satiating effects. Several participants had difficulty consuming the entire protein-rich breakfast containing skyr and oats. 

"It's intriguing that there can be such a big difference in the satiety effect of two different meals with the same calorie content. Had the women in the project been allowed to choose the size of the meal themselves, it's likely that they'd have consumed more food and thereby more calories on the day they were served bread and jam than on the day they were given skyr and oats," said Mette Hansen. 

According to the researcher, despite the important insights, the study has limitations. This is because it only involved overweight young women participants and was entirely based on relatively short-term observations, leaving the long-term dietary questions unanswered. Therefore, Mette Hansen points out that the study requires further research to understand how different types of food affect health over time. 

"We already have new data incoming from a trial where participants received either a high-protein breakfast or a low-protein breakfast. The objective was to study how the different types of breakfast affect body composition and other parameters such as microbiota and cholesterol levels," said Mette Hansen.