Eating breakfast reduces food cravings

Eating breakfast reduces food cravings

Eating breakfast reduces food cravings

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many teens skip breakfast, which increases chance of obesity. Statistics show that obesity has become an epidemic amongst teens over the past three years.

Now, research from the University of Missouri shows that eating breakfast reduces food cravings. Breakfast foods with high protein have shown the most benefits. Eating breakfast activates a chemical that reduces food cravings and may prevent overeating.

Our research showed that people experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. “However, breakfasts that are high in protein also reduced cravings for savory — or high-fat — foods. On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day.”

Study shows eating breakfast reduces food cravings

Leidy and her team set out to find if eating breakfast reduces food cravings. They studied the effects of breakfast on dopamine – a brain chemical involved with reward, impulses, and food cravings. Eating causes dopamine release, which promotes a feeling of reward. The reward response helps regulate eating.

Dopamine levels are blunted in individuals who are overweight or obese, which means that it takes much more stimulation — or food — to elicit feelings of reward; we saw similar responses within breakfast-skippers,” Leidy said. “To counteract the tendencies to overeat and to prevent weight gain that occurs as a result of overeating, we tried to identify dietary behaviors that provide these feelings of reward while reducing cravings for high-fat foods. Eating breakfast, particularly a breakfast high in protein, seems to do that.”

Study participants were young women with an average age of 19. However, Leidy believes that the findings may apply to adults as well.

In the U.S., people are skipping breakfast more frequently, which is associated with food cravings, overeating and obesity,” Leidy said. “It used to be that nearly 100 percent of American adults, kids and teens were eating breakfast, but over the last 50 years, we have seen a decrease in eating frequency and an increase in obesity.”

This study showing that breakfast reduces food cravings was published in the Nutrition Journal.

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1. “Eating Breakfast Increases Brain Chemical Involved in Regulating Food Intake and Cravings, MU Researchers Find.” MU News Bureau. University of Missouri, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 05 Jan. 2015.
2. “Effects of High-protein vs. High- Fat Snacks on Appetite Control, Satiety, and Eating Initiation in Healthy Women.” Nutrition Journal. Nutrition Journal, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 05 Jan. 2015.

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