“Novel differences in the glucose response to HP [higher-protein] vs. NP [normal-protein] breakfasts were observed and were influenced by the frequency of habitual breakfast consumption in overweight adolescents.” At 176 characters (with spaces), it might have made a good tweet. But, and I am not making this up, that was the CONCLUSION from the Abstract of a recent article in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (EJCN). I saw the groundbreaking news from Diabetes in Control: “Breakfast Habits Affect Overweight Teen Girls Metabolic Responses to Protein-Packed Morning Meals.”
“The primary aim [of the study] was to examine the daily glycemic response to normal-protein (NP) vs. higher-protein (HP) breakfasts in overweight adolescents who habitually skip breakfast (H-BS). The secondary aim examined whether the glycemic response to these meals differed in H-BS vs. habitual breakfast consumers (H-BC),” according to the EJCN. If this sounds elementary, Watson, I’ll generously assume the research was intended to educate overweight/obese late adolescent girls in an online chat line or similar social media or some teen-oriented supermarket magazine.
The unsurprising outcome was that “those who typically ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast had improved glucose control after they ate a high-protein breakfast.” No news there. But the researchers seemed surprised that “the habitual breakfast skippers experienced poorer glycemic control throughout the day when they consumed a high protein breakfast.” Hmmm. Ingested food affects your circulating blood glucose! It disrupts and destabilizes it! It causes glucose, from carbs and then from protein digestion via gluconeogenesis over 4 or 5 hours, to enter your bloodstream, resulting in peaks and crashes!
The Abstract (you have to pay to access the full paper) does not tell us what a “normal protein” breakfast is (as compared to a higher-protein breakfast) but you can bet it contains lots of carbs too: juice, cereal and/or some bread product.
“These findings may indicate an increased inability among habitual breakfast skippers to metabolize a large quantity of protein,” the corresponding researcher told Diabetes in Control. “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,” the researcher said. Wow! That (30g) is a lot of protein. They must be growing girls.
I think the education of the researcher is proceeding swimmingly. The paper stipulates, “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. 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.” That’s a safe bet. And well said!
According to the Diabetes in Control write-up, the researcher suggested that “young women should routinely aim for a 350-calorie breakfast with approximately 30 grams of protein. To meet the recommended 30 grams of protein, [the researcher] suggests foods such as scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos with eggs and lean meats, or Greek Yogurt.” Interesting, my breakfast is 3 eggs, fried or scrambled, 1 strip of bacon, a large coffee with stevia powder and about 4 Tbs of half and half, and a 1 gram fish oil capsule. It’s 375 calories, but only 20 grams of protein, 31 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbs.