The phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is not just an idiom but a tenant for all fitness lovers. In India however, particularly among working professionals, breakfast is largely ignored for the sake of convenience and this trend shows no signs of improvement. According to a study conducted by The Food Analysts, 60 per cent of Indians admit to skipping breakfast entirely, while another 30 per cent only eat a light breakfast and compensate it with a heavy lunch. Additionally, 70 per cent of respondents admitted to taking considerable gaps between meals.
Skipping breakfast on a regular basis, particularly one which is rich in protein, can cause numerous health complications in the long run and also result in hunger pangs. This has much to do with the very nature of protein itself, as is evident by research conducted by the University of Missouri. The study in question found that 20 young people who ate breakfast with 40 per cent protein, in comparison to those who consumed 15 per cent protein, reportedly experienced significantly lower savoury and sweet food cravings. The study also observed that a protein-rich breakfast reduced hunger pangs for several hours. In addition, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the study found that it reduces the brain signals controlling reward-driven eating behaviour (when one rewards themselves with comfort food after accomplishing a task).
How Does Protein Regulate Hunger?
Scientifically speaking, the role that protein plays in reducing hunger is well established. They take considerably longer for the body to digest than other organic compounds like fats and carbohydrates, thereby reducing one’s ability to eat more over an extended period of time. Meals with a high amount of protein also reduces the secretion of ghrelin - a hormone that induces the sensation of hunger, far more effectively than fats and carbohydrates.
How You Can Include Protein In Your Diet
To avail the benefits of a high-protein diet, one must consume a minimum of 30 grams worth the compound per meal. It is an excellent way to ramp up one’s metabolism, prevent mid-morning sugar crashes and effectively regulate the urge to overeat for several hours. Given the fact that proteins require more calories per gram to digest than fats or carbohydrates, they’re an excellent choice for people looking to lose weight. Here are some simple foods to include in your breakfast that will greatly add protein to your diet:
Egg Whites: Eggs are a pure form of natural protein and a common item on most breakfast menus. Whether fried, boiled or raw, they’re delicious and highly nutritious, except for the yolk which has high levels of cholesterol.
Fish: Seafood is rich in proteins and other essential nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids. They have significantly lower levels of cholesterol than red meat i.e. mutton, pork and beef and less than 2 per cent fat.
Dairy Products: Milk and milk products like cheese, paneer and curd are excellent sources of protein in addition to calcium. Even something as seemingly simple as a glass of milk for breakfast each day is a substantial improvement over nothing.
As important as proteins are to a fit, healthy life, it is necessary to consider options that lack excessive amount of fats. For example, while mutton is a better source of protein per gram than fish or chicken, it contain substantially higher levels of fat, which often outweighs it’s inherent advantages. Lean protein foods, however, offer the benefits of a high-protein breakfast, without any of the disadvantages of consuming high-fat or high-protein substances such as increased cholesterol levels and weight gain.
Dieting and weight loss will always be a difficult and complicated business but reducing hunger pangs is an effective way to significantly lower the temptation to falter or give up entirely. Therefore, eliminating their impact by switching to a high-protein breakfast is a wise course of action.
About The Author: Veer Ramlugon is the Founder & CEO of The Food Analysts