In healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose into cells. Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes over time. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that when women consumed high protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.
The researchers studied women aged 18-55 years old who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days. The tested meals were less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fibre contents. However, the meals varied in amount of protein: 1) a pancake meal with three grams of protein; 2) a sausage and egg breakfast with 30 grams of protein; or 3) a sausage and egg breakfast with 39 grams protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants' blood for four hours after they ate breakfast.
Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast. Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.
These findings suggest that, for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options.
“Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change," the researcher said.
Based on the study's findings, the researchers are hopeful that the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts also would benefit individuals with pre-diabetes, although future research is needed to confirm.
My advice: add Greek yogurt to breakfast - ¾ cup has 18 to 20 grams of protein.Not bad at all! Other protein-rich foods suitable for breakfast include egg whites, cottage cheese, part skim cheese, milk, unsweetened soy benverages, smoked salmon, turkey, nuts and nut butters.
Source: "Acute Effects of Higher Protein, Sausage and Egg-based Convenience Breakfast Meals on Postprandial Glucose Homeostasis in Healthy, Premenopausal Women," presented at the 2014 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, Calif.
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