A newly released study by the University of Missouri reinforces what most farm moms already know: Teens who eat a high-protein lean pork breakfast may consume fewer sugary snacks later in the day.
The recent 12-week study suggests that, for teenagers, eating a protein-rich breakfast that includes lean ham or pork sausage reduces daily hunger, increases daily fullness, improves morning blood sugar control and leads to less late-day snacking, thus reducing calories from fat and sugar.1 This is especially true for teens who normally skip breakfast all together.
"This new Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of high-protein lean pork in a balanced diet," says Conley Nelson, National Pork Board president and Algona, Iowa, producer, "Pork producers work hard to provide consumers with healthy, affordable protein choices for the family table. Parents can feel good about including pork as part of the morning meal because it provides healthy fuel to support their teenagers' busy day while reducing the urge to reach for empty-calorie afternoon snacks."
As many as 20 to 30 percent of U.S. adolescents do not eat breakfast and are dubbed "breakfast skippers,"2 a habit associated with excess body weight, according to The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.3 Teens who were assigned as part of the study to eat a high-protein breakfast experienced a decreased intake of about 400 calories later in the day.
However, those who continued to skip breakfast, as well as those who ate the same number of calories for breakfast but had much less protein, did not reduce daily intake. The 400-calorie decrease seen in the high-protein breakfast group was due to voluntarily eating fewer high-fat/high-sugar snacks in the late afternoon and evening.
Both breakfast groups, totaling 54 teenage boys and girls, consumed 350-calorie meals. However, the lower-protein group consumed high-carbohydrate, ready-to-eat cereals. The high-protein group consumed meals containing foods such as pork and egg burritos, lean ham with protein-rich pancakes and raspberry syrup, or protein-rich blueberry waffles with syrup and a pork sausage patty. Both breakfasts had the same amount of fat - about 20 percent of total calories.
"Nutritionists always tout the importance of breakfast, but now we understand just how powerful choosing to eat lean protein, like pork sausage or ham, at breakfast can be, especially for those who typically skip breakfast," says study lead Dr. Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the University of Missouri's Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. "Based on this research, taking the time each morning to eat a healthy breakfast - one consisting of about 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 40 percent of calories from protein - leads to reduced snacking later in the day, thanks to the satiating effects of protein early in the day."