Protein In The Morning Helps Control Glucose, Insulin
April 30, 2014

High Protein Breakfast Helps Control Glucose, Insulin Control

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

A new study being presented at American Society for Nutrition's Experimental Biology conference in San Diego this week adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the high nutritional value of a protein-heavy breakfast.

Conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri and funded by foodmaker Hillshire Brands, the new research found that a commercially-prepared breakfast of sausage and eggs allow for better blood-glucose and insulin control in women than low-protein or no-protein breakfasts.

“For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU, in a recent statement. “If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future.”

The study included healthy women between the ages of 18 and 55 years old who ate one of three distinct meals or only water for four straight days. The meals contained below 300 calories per serving and had comparable fat and fiber composition. However, the meals differed in the quantity of protein: a pancake breakfast in the study contained 3 grams of protein, a sausage and egg breakfast had 30 grams of protein, and a different sausage and egg breakfast with 39 grams. Scientists watched the quantity of glucose and insulin in the participants’ blood for four hours after breakfast.

“Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast,” said study researcher Kevin Maki, of Biofortis Clinical Research. “Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.”

Leidy added that women should consider a high-protein breakfast if they are worried about their glucose and insulin control.

“Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change,” she said. “However, one potential strategy to assist with this change might include the incorporation of prepared convenience meals, such as those included in this study.”

Considering the study’s conclusions, the scientists said they are hopeful that the intake of protein-rich breakfasts would also benefit people with pre-diabetes, although additional study would be needed to validate this potential benefit.

Another Hillshire Brands-funded study being presented at the Experimental Biology conference this week found that commercially-processed sausage and egg bowls provided longer-lasting feelings of fullness compared to a breakfast of cereal or pancakes.

That study compared six different breakfast options: three commercially-prepared sausage-and-egg bowls containing 40, 23 and 9 grams of protein – as well as a cereal breakfast with 8 grams of protein, a pancake breakfast with 3 grams of protein or no breakfast at all.

It should be noted that both studies study involved “commercially prepared breakfast meals,” which is another way of saying "processed food" and a study released last year found a link between some processed meat and increased risk of death from any cause.