Protein at Breakfast Reduces Hunger & Prevents Overeating

Research shows that eating a protein rich breakfast increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day.

And for those of us who are prone to the mid-afternoon munchies, this is very, very good news.

Egg Crepe Protein at Breakfast Reduces Hunger & Prevents Overeating

The Study

For three weeks, a group of adolescent girls (Age: 15 ± 1 years) with a high BMI (93rd percentile ± 1%) and a habit of skipping breakfast (5 ± 1×/week) either…

  • continued to skip breakfast (BS)
  • or consumed 500-calorie “normal protein” breakfast meals (NP) consisting of cereal and milk
  • or 500-calorie higher protein meals (HP) consisting of Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt.

At the end of each week, the girls returned to the lab to eat their respective breakfast followed by:

  • appetite questionnaires and
  • an fMRI brain scan to identify brain activation responses to viewing food vs. nonfood images prior to lunch.

The Results

Compared to skipping breakfast (BS), both breakfast meals (NP & HP) led to increased satiety and reductions in hunger throughout the morning (3 hrs post breakfast).

The fMRI results showed that brain activation in regions controlling food motivation and reward was reduced prior to lunch time when breakfast was consumed in the morning.

Additionally, eating protein at breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behaviour compared to the normal protein breakfast.


The researchers concluded that a protein-rich breakfast might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control and prevent overeating in young people.

And aside from the fact that I take issue with their description of their HP breakfast – Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt – as being high protein, I have to agree.

NOTE – Some of my previous articles – The Big Breakfast DietWeight Loss & Breakfast: Eggs are Better – have shown that skipping breakfast can be a very bad idea.


Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Sarah Hill

    October 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I agree! I added some peanut butter to my apple and it was plenty for breakfast. I wasn’t hungry until 4 hours later!

  2. John

    June 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Did I read that right? A 1000 calorie breakfast, supposedly high protein with waffles and syrup. Give me two poached eggs for breakfast, 140 calories and lots of GOOD saturated fats and loads of fat soluble vitamins.
    That’s at 7:30, no hunger pangs at all before lunch at around 12:30.
    Also I am guessing that a “high BMI at the 93rd percentile” is another way of saying obese? What happened to their weight during the program? And what is the basal metabolic rate for a fat fifteen year old – 2000 calories?

  3. Tim

    June 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    A high protein breakfast definitely can help you to prevent overeating. I’m a walking testament to this, as I have a full English breakfast every day, with bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, beans, black pudding…the works! As well as being delicious, this keeps me going for hours, and I have absolutely no wish to snack. Actually, my diet is not far removed from the Dukan Diet, although this was never a deliberate decision on my part.

  4. Brit

    May 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    “And aside from the fact that I take issue with their description of their HP breakfast – Belgium waffles, syrup and yogurt – as being high protein, I have to agree.”

    I bet they used those things to stay in the same food groups–the waffles are a higher protein grain than the cereal, and the yogurt is a higher protein dairy product than the milk. While they could have made the high protein meal something like your omelette, then they wouldn’t know if their results were because of the additional protein, or because they went from a grain to eggs. It takes out a variable.

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  6. TCD

    May 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

    This is a really good article…I’ve heard that increasing protein for breakfast really helps with weight loss and maintenance…now there’s the science to back it up!

    • Myqivanamines

      February 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      @TCD Actually it’s only part of the science TCD. What it didn’t mention is 30 yrs of Dr DK (pHD university od illinois) Laymans work proves if you don’t get to around 30 gr of “quality” protein it doesn’t help at all. That’s where protein synthesis (MTor) signaling for muscles kick in. Otherwise you may as well have cake.

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  8. Brit

    May 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I had egg whites with veggies and sausage instead of my usual apple for breakfast this morning, and I still inhaled snacks all day. Possibly even more so. So, I don’t know.