Tags: Obesity | breakfast | food | cravings | protein

Eating Breakfast Halts Food Cravings

By    |   Wednesday, 15 October 2014 03:13 PM

New research has cast doubt on the long-held belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But University of Missouri researchers have found that eating breakfast, particularly meals rich in protein, puts the breaks on food cravings later in the day.

The research shows young adults who eat protein-rich breakfasts have higher levels of a brain chemical associated with feelings of reward, making them less likely to overeat later in the day. Understanding the brain chemical and its role in food cravings could lead to improvements in obesity prevention and treatment, the researchers found.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many teens skip breakfast or consume sugary high-carb cereals, which increases their likelihood of overeating and eventual weight gain.

Statistics show that the number of adolescents struggling with obesity has quadrupled in the past three decades.

“Our research showed that people experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant UM professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. “However, breakfasts that are high in protein also reduced cravings for savory – or high-fat – foods. On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day.”

Leidy studied the effects of breakfast on a group of young women’s levels of dopamine, a brain chemical involved in moderating impulses and reward, including food cravings. Eating initiates a release of dopamine, which stimulates feelings of satiety, which  helps to regulate food intake, Leidy said.

“Dopamine levels are blunted in individuals who are overweight or obese, which means that it takes much more stimulation – or food – to elicit feelings of reward; we saw similar responses within breakfast-skippers,” Leidy said. “To counteract the tendencies to overeat and to prevent weight gain that occurs as a result of overeating, we tried to identify dietary behaviors that provide these feelings of reward while reducing cravings for high-fat foods. Eating breakfast, particularly a breakfast high in protein, seems to do that.”

Leidy’s research was published in the Nutrition Journal.

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Researchers have found that eating breakfast, particularly meals rich in protein, puts the breaks on food cravings later in the day.
breakfast, food, cravings, protein
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 03:13 PM
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