Three groups of teenagers were studied at the University of Missouri for 3 weeks. They either skipped breakfast, 60% actually do skip, ate a normal amount of protein, a 500-calorie meal consisting of cereal and milk, or a high-protein breakfast.
At the end of each week they filled out a form rating appetite and satiety and their brains were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the activity in the areas that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior.
The fMRI results showed those that ate protein for breakfast had decreased brain activity in those areas that controlled food motivation and reward before lunch. Those subjects that ate a high protein breakfast reported an even greater satiety and less appetite.
Skipping breakfast has been strongly associated with snacking high in sugar, fat and calories, overeating (especially at night), weight gain and obesity. Eating a healthy protein-rich breakfast can keep people satisfied longer, control appetite, be less prone to snacking, and prevent overeating.