Breakfast habits may play a role in how we metabolize high-protein breakfasts, according to a recently published University of Missouri study. An MU researcher compared young women who typically skip breakfast to those who routinely eat breakfast and found that their metabolic responses to eating a high-protein breakfast were different. Specifically, the habitual breakfast skippers experienced poorer glucose control throughout the day when they consumed a high-protein breakfast, while those who typically ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast had improved glucose control after they ate a high-protein breakfast.
“Current scientific evidence shows that sustained elevations in post-meal glucose is a strong contributor of poor glycemic control and is associated with an increased risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor in the MU department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “Because of the potential risk in the long term, identifying dietary strategies that individuals can begin when they are young to reduce post-meal elevations in glucose might prevent the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
For habitual breakfast skippers, eating a high-protein breakfast led to elevated glucose levels throughout the day compared to skipping breakfast, whereas the standard, high-carbohydrate breakfast did not influence these responses. However, among those who routinely ate breakfast, the high-protein breakfasts led to reduced glucose levels throughout the day.
“These findings may indicate an increased inability among habitual breakfast skippers to metabolize a large quantity of protein,” Leidy said. “Unfortunately, we don’t know yet how long someone who has been skipping breakfast needs to continue eating breakfast to experience benefits. However, our data would suggest that once someone begins to eat breakfast, they should gradually transition to a breakfast with more protein – or about 30 grams – to elicit improvements in glycemic control.”