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Steak and Eggs for Breakfast Can Aid Weight Loss

Update Date: Mar 27, 2013 02:08 PM EDT

Having a steak and eggs breakfast could help you loose weight by reducing your appetite at night, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found that having a protein rich breakfast significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy snacking on high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening.

The latest findings could help improve the diets of more than 25 million overweight or obese young Americans, according to researchers who say that around 60 percent of young people in the U.S. consistently skip breakfast, their "most important meal of the day".

The latest study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the first to examine the impact of breakfast consumption on daily appetite and evening snacking in young people who habitually skip breakfast.

Researcher Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri, and her team studied 20 overweight or obese girls aged 18 to 20 who either skipped breakfast, consumed a high-protein breakfast consisting of eggs and lean beef, or ate a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal. All breakfasts consisted of 350 calories and were matched for dietary fat, fiber, sugar and energy density.   However, the high-protein breakfast contained 35 grams of protein. 

Researchers had participants complete questionnaires and provide blood samples throughout the day. Before dinner, researchers asked participants to undergo fMRI brain scans, which were used to track brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior.

Researchers found that brain scans of participants who ate a high-protein breakfast showed increase fullness or "satiety" along with reductions in brain activity responsible for controlling food craving. The study found that the high-protein breakfast also reduced nighttime snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to when breakfast was skipped or when a normal protein, ready-to-eat cereal breakfast was consumed.

"Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks," Leidy said. "These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods."

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