If you read my blog from June 24th, you know that skipping breakfast is a really bad idea! So, let’s assume that you are now eating something (healthy) within an hour or two of getting your day started. Great. Next step …. Make sure it contains protein!
Over the last decade, I’ve worked with a lot of people with many health issues, including many who are also overweight or obese. One of the most basic parts of getting a handle on their weight is getting them to eat breakfast within an hour or two of getting the day started. I always, ALWAYS, recommend that breakfast includes at least 7 grams of protein (as a minimum).
As you are sleeping, the repair mechanisms within your body are in high gear thanks to the unrelenting control of the hypothalamus (part of your brain) and the pituitary gland (the master gland). Those repairs include a tremendous amount of protein. The protein your body makes for thousands of different health benefits (not just strong muscles) is composed of amino acids. The amino acids are provided to your body from the protein that you eat in your diet. When your food includes protein early in the new day, you are telling your brain that there will be more amino acids coming in to meet your repair demands. Skipping breakfast, or omitting protein in your breakfast, keeps your hypothalamus guessing, “Will there be enough protein coming in today?”.
A study out of the University of Texas looked at adding more of the day’s protein at breakfast. They looked at the effects on lean muscle synthesis in healthy men and women when the day’s protein intake was divided more evenly over the 3 main meals versus the higher protein portion of the day’s food coming with the evening meal. So, the amount of protein consumed in the different groups was the same, the difference was – when the protein was consumed. The Results? When the protein is divided equally from breakfast through dinner, there was a 25% greater ability to repair and build new muscle cells than with higher protein at dinner. 25% better with no change in the total amount of protein consumed!!
There are many other studies that look at breakfast protein with results like being less hungry, experiencing less food cravings, regaining or maintaining healthy body fat. And for teenagers and adults who are overweight or obese (and that’s not a good thing), breakfast is a good idea and protein with that breakfast is a great idea!
So, as our kids head back to school and we get back to the “gee, it’s not summer anymore” routine, make sure everyone starts each day with a protein-rich breakfast. Your hypothalamus will be happier and that starts a wonderful and healthy domino effect. Yep, when it comes to eating protein, think breakfast first!