As the world obsesses over intermittent fasting, understanding the benefits of a high protein breakfast can feel like a bit of cheat code. In this article we’ll explore why eating a high protein breakfast is a safer, more sustainable way to lose weight, control appetite and fuel your day!
- The Downside of Intermittent Fasting
- Risks associated with Fasting
- High Protein Breakfast
- 30 Grams of Protein In the Morning
- 8 Breakfast Ideas with 30 Grams of Protein or More!
- Additional Options
- Start your High Protein Breakfast Habit Today
The Downside of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been having a bit of a moment, with every other celebrity or influencer touting it’s benefits.
However, intermittent fasting is not safe or effective for everyone. Fasting of any kind can be challenging to stick to and can be dangerous for those who have a history of disordered eating or who have trouble controlling their food intake. It can also cause negative side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability.
Risks associated with Fasting
Intermittent fasting can affect the production of hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and estrogen, which can cause hormonal imbalances – especially in women. This can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, fertility problems, and other hormonal issues.
Restricting food intake during fasting periods can lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially if a woman is not eating a well-balanced diet during their eating window. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and other health issues.
When eating in a small window it can be difficult to optimize your nutrient and protein intake which can have a devastating impact on your long-term physical, emotional and cognitive health.
Intermittent fasting can also trigger disordered eating patterns in some women, leading to binge eating, food guilt, and an unhealthy relationship with food.
Intermittent fasting can be stressful on the body, especially if combined with high-intensity exercise or a busy lifestyle. This can lead to increased stress levels, which can have negative effects on physical and mental health. To learn more about managing stress and anxiety, read our post “How the Vagus Nerve Can Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks.“
Risk of Overeating
When breaking the fast, there can be a tendency to overeat or make unhealthy food choices, which can negate any potential benefits of intermittent fasting.
High Protein Breakfast
Personally, I believe that one of the major downsides of intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t allow for consumption of a high protein breakfast – a practice that’s associated with nearly countless health benefits.
Benefits of a High Protein Breakfast
Helps with Weight Management
Protein can help you feel full for longer periods, reducing your overall calorie intake throughout the day. By starting the day with a high protein breakfast, you may be less likely to snack on high-calorie foods later in the day.
Research suggests that consuming a high protein breakfast can be an effective strategy for weight loss and weight management. Several studies have shown that a high protein breakfast can help control appetite and reduce calorie intake throughout the day, leading to weight loss.
A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight and obese women who consumed a high protein breakfast (containing 30% protein, 35% carbohydrate, and 35% fat) consumed fewer calories at lunch and dinner and experienced greater weight loss than those who consumed a low protein breakfast (containing 3% protein, 52% carbohydrate, and 45% fat).
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 found that overweight and obese men who consumed a high protein breakfast (containing 35% protein, 20% carbohydrate, and 45% fat) had reduced daily food intake and greater feelings of fullness than those who consumed a low protein breakfast (containing 10% protein, 60% carbohydrate, and 30% fat).
Moreover, a review of 24 studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2018 found that increasing protein intake at breakfast can lead to improvements in body weight, body composition, and appetite control.
Helps Maintain and Build Muscle Mass
Consuming a high protein breakfast can provide your body with the necessary amino acids it needs to maintain and build muscle mass. This is especially important if you are physically active or trying to gain muscle.
Research has consistently shown that consuming adequate amounts of protein is necessary for promoting muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and reducing muscle breakdown, which are essential processes for maintaining and building muscle.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that consuming protein within an hour after exercise can significantly enhance muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and promote muscle recovery and growth. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 found that a higher protein intake is associated with greater muscle mass and strength in adults.
Additionally, research suggests that consuming protein evenly throughout the day can maximize MPS and promote muscle growth. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming 30 grams of protein at each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) can increase MPS and improve muscle protein balance in healthy adult.
Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Research suggests that protein can have a positive impact on blood sugar regulation, particularly in individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
One way in which protein can affect blood sugar levels is through its impact on satiety and appetite. Consuming a high-protein meal or snack can help reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness, which can help prevent overeating and reduce blood sugar spikes.
Additionally, protein can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body, which can help prevent rapid increases in blood sugar levels. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming a high-protein meal before consuming a high-carbohydrate meal can significantly reduce postprandial blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
A 2018 study published in the journal Nutrients found that a higher-protein diet (containing 30% of total energy from protein) was associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced fasting blood sugar levels in overweight and obese adults.
Improves Cognitive Function
Research suggests that protein can play an important role in cognitive function and brain health. Proteins are essential for the formation and maintenance of brain cells and synapses, which are crucial for cognitive function, learning, and memory.
One way in which protein can affect cognitive function is through its impact on neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, cognition, and behavior. Proteins are needed to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, which are essential for cognitive function and emotional well-being.
Additionally, research suggests that specific amino acids found in protein, such as tyrosine and tryptophan, may have a direct impact on cognitive function. Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in attention and motivation, while tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that supplementing with tyrosine and tryptophan improved cognitive function and mood in healthy adults.
It’s also worth mentioning that research has shown that consuming protein-rich foods such as fish, nuts, and seeds may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that a diet high in fish and nuts was associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.
Provides Sustained Energy
Carbohydrates provide quick energy, but protein takes longer to digest, providing sustained energy for a longer period. This can help you feel more alert and focused throughout the day.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating protein at breakfast improved cognitive function and alertness compared to a high carbohydrate breakfast.
Overall, the research suggests that consuming a high protein breakfast can lead to sustained energy levels, reduced hunger, increased satiety, and improved cognitive function throughout the day. So many great benefits!
30 Grams of Protein In the Morning
The optimal amount of protein varies depending on factors such as age, gender, and physical activity level, however 30 grams of Protein during the morning meal seems to be a safe bet for reaping all of the benefits and avoiding any potential risks.
According to the American Dietetic Association, a protein intake of around 20-30 grams at breakfast is sufficient for most adults.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming a breakfast containing at least 30 grams of protein led to improved satiety and reduced hunger throughout the day compared to a lower protein breakfast.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming a breakfast containing 35 grams of protein led to greater feelings of fullness and reduced snacking compared to a lower protein breakfast.
It is important to note that excessive protein intake can have negative effects on health, particularly on kidney function – more protein is not always better. Consider consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of protein for your individual needs.
8 Breakfast Ideas with 30 Grams of Protein or More!
Assuming you have confirmed that a 30 gram protein breakfast is a safe target for you, here are some recipe ideas to get you started!
1. Greek Yogurt Parfait
Layer 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of mixed berries, 1/4 cup of granola, and 1 tablespoon of honey. This will provide around 30 grams of protein.
2. Protein Smoothie
Blend 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. This will provide around 30 grams of protein.
3. Egg White Omelette
Whisk together 6 egg whites with 1/4 cup of diced bell peppers, 1/4 cup of diced onions, and 1/4 cup of diced mushrooms. Cook in a non-stick pan until the egg whites are set. This will provide around 30 grams of protein.
4. Breakfast Burrito
Scramble 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/4 cup of diced onions, and 1/4 cup of diced bell peppers. Wrap in a whole wheat tortilla and top with salsa and avocado. This will provide around 35 grams of protein.
5. Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Mix 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 2 eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a blender. Cook like regular pancakes in a non-stick pan. This will provide around 35 grams of protein.
6. Protein Powder Pancakes
Mix 1 scoop of whey protein powder with 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 2 egg whites, and 1/4 cup of almond milk. Cook the batter as you would normal pancakes. This breakfast provides around 40 grams of protein.
7. Egg and Turkey Sausage Sandwich
Cook 2 turkey sausage patties and 2 eggs. Serve them on a whole-grain English muffin with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. This breakfast provides around 35 grams of protein.
8. Tofu Scramble
Crumble 1 block of tofu and cook it with 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables (such as spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers) in a non-stick pan. Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. This breakfast provides around 25-30 grams of protein.
As you experiment with 30+ gram protein breakfast meals, here are some other great food options that can be added to your meals to increase the protein content:
Plant based meat alternatives
Non dairy milk
Full fat Greek yogurt
Hard boiled eggs
Start your High Protein Breakfast Habit Today
Whether you are looking to improve your energy levels, lose weight or build muscle, a high protein breakfast can greatly improve your health, well-being and quality of life.
Experiment with some of these ideas to build a high protein breakfast habit – and start reaping the benefits today!