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.
“For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels,” Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology said.
“If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future,” she said.
Kevin Maki, of Biofortis Clinical Research, completed the study in collaboration with Leidy. They 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 fiber contents.
However, the meals varied in amount of protein: a pancake meal with three grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet 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,” Maki said.
“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,” he said.
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, Leidy said.