You’ve been told by your parents that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for years. Well, not only do studies show that to be true, they show that healthy breakfasts high in protein are instrumental in many health benefits of breakfast. It’s time to WAKE UP about the real importance of breakfast. Kids, especially athletes, have very busy schedules, and sometimes rush out the door to head to school or for athletic training. As the studies show, protein-dense meal-replacement shakes are an excellent source of quality, convenient early morning meals.
Here are a few key health benefits of a protein-rich breakfast:
1. Improved Concentration and Memory
Breakfast is shown to be strongly associated with improved concentration and memory (1) Scientists believe this is because a protein-rich, early morning meal immediate impacts blood sugar to fuel young brains (2,3).
In one of the most comprehensive, systematic (40 studies) studies, comparing eating breakfast vs. skipping breakfast was determined to result in enhanced brain function, learning, and memory in adolescents and children (3). In addition, breakfast was linked to improved mood, energy, and academic performance (3).
2. Improved Concentration and Memory
Eating breakfast daily is consistently associated with having an improved nutritional status. The likely reason is because the morning meal compared to other meals generally consists of foods that are higher in protein, fiber, and vitamin and mineral content (4). These include whole-grain cereals, fruits and berries, and dairy products like milk or yogurt.
From another systematic review of more than 47 observational studies in children and adolescents, interestingly, the kids who ate breakfast consumed more calories daily compared to breakfast skippers, and yet were less likely to be overweight.
3. Improved Energy Expenditure
Increased energy expenditure is another key reason to not skip breakfast. This works for children and adults, according to studies.
4. Improved Metabolism (with more protein)
More protein at breakfast could be the key to improving metabolism. In a long-term study on participants attempting to lose weight, a diet higher in protein (1.5 g/kg/d) versus a diet normal in protein (0.8g/kg/d) increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure after meals (7). In a short-term section of the same study, the scientists also evaluated the effects of a breakfast meal consisting of 30 percent protein on metabolism (7). They found that the high-protein breakfast led to improved metabolism, higher fat oxidation (fat burning), and lower perceived hunger throughout the day.
5. Improved Control of Hunger
Eating a high-protein breakfast can satisfy hunger, having a direct impact on weight management. One randomized crossover trial compared eating a high-protein breakfast (35 g protein) with a normal-protein breakfast of equal calories (350 Kcal) and breakfast skipping in overweight late-adolescent girls. After 12 weeks, the study found that the girls who ate a higher-protein breakfast led to improved satiety and a reduction in reward-driven eating (5). Notably, the girls who ate breakfast higher in protein consumed fewer high-fat evening snacks and didn’t see any weight gain during the trial compared to the girls who skipped breakfast or ate a normal-protein breakfast (5).
6. Improved Blood Sugar Control
A high-protein shake for breakfast can also ensure the best maintenance of blood sugar levels. This can be especially important for brain function during academic hours and times of exercise.
7. Improved Muscle Maintenance
Breakfast that includes a high-potein foods is especially important for young athletes in terms of maximizing energy output during sporting activities and especially for muscle-building and recovery.
8. Improve Sleep During Weight Loss
Finally, trials have shown that consuming a protein-dense shake in the morning can help protect against sleeplessness. A follow-up pilot trial also demonstrated that a whey-based shake consumed at breakfast led to better hunger abatement and sleep efficiency, which is a combination of falling asleep earlier, total sleep time, and perceived sleep quality.
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. But for best results, make it a portion-controlled meal higher in protein. This is most conveniently achieved with a protein-packed shake. Click here for our recommendations.
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- Hoyland A, Dye L, Lawton CL. A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2009. p. 220–43.
- Benton D, Parker PY. Breakfast, blood glucose, and cognition. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;67.
- Cooper SB, Bandelow S, Nevill ME. Breakfast consumption and cognitive function in adolescent schoolchildren. Physiol Behav. 2011;103:431–9.
- Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005. p. 743–60.
- Chowdhury EA, Richardson JD, Holman GD, Tsintzas K, Thompson D, Betts JA. The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: A randomized controlled trial in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;103:747–56.