Begin the Day with a High Protein Breakfast

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Begin the Day with a High Protein Breakfast

If you want to lose body fat, the days of grabbing a granola bar or a banana while rushing out the door need to end.

Several studies back the claim that consuming high amounts of protein are beneficial for fat loss, but a study completed in 2015 displays just how important beginning the day with a high amount of protein can be beneficial for you.

Researchers completed a 12-week randomized controlled study using three separate groups: a normal protein breakfast (NP, 13g), a high protein breakfast (HP, 35g), and a control group (CON, skipped breakfast).

The purpose of the study was conducted to determine whether daily consumption of NP vs. HP breakfast meals improves appetite control, food intake, and body composition in “breakfast skipping” young people with overweight/obesity.

What They Found

The HP group was the only group that prevented fat mass gains and lost a bit of fat.

The CON group gained fat mass. The NP group didn’t have a significant change.

The biggest difference between the groups was the change in caloric intake.

The HP group experienced an average reduction in daily intake of about 412 calories. They also consumed less carbohydrates by taking in 51g less per day.

The NP group increased daily intake by 118 calories and 25g of carbohydrates.

The CON group increased daily intake by 317 calories and 39g of carbohydrates.

In addition, the HP group experienced lower levels of hunger and higher levels of fullness.

The CON group had the highest levels of hunger and lowest levels of fullness.

What Does This Mean for You

Eating a higher protein breakfast doesn’t guarantee that fat will immediately begin to fall off. What it can do is set you up for success during the rest of the day.

Eating a high amount of protein to begin the day can do the following:

  • Improve satiety
  • Reduce food motivation and reward
  • Reduce potential snacking
  • Improve diet quality for overweight or obese individuals

How Much Protein Should You Have at Breakfast

Protein intake for women should be 1.53kg/g (0.7g/lb.) to 1.85kg/g (0.9g/lb.) per lb. of bodyweight at maintenance or in a caloric surplus. Protein intake in a caloric deficit needs to be a bit higher at 1g/lb.

For example, a woman weighing 125 lbs. who consumes 3 meals and 2 snacks per day with a fat loss goal, needs an average of 25g of protein per meal.

Men may need slightly more, since a larger proportion of their body mass is lean mass, but the difference is minor. Men should consume 1.6kg/g to 2.2kg/g (0.8g/lb. to 1g/lb.) for maintenance or in a caloric surplus. Protein intake in a deficit should be 1-1.25g/lb.

A man weighing in at 200 lbs consuming 3 meals and 2 snacks per day with a fat loss, needs an average of 40-50g of protein per meal.

Examples of a High Protein Breakfast

Creating breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s no need to overthink it and create an extravagant spread. Here are some options to try:

  • Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, cup of veggies (broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, etc.)
  • High protein Greek yogurt and berries of your choosing
  • Steak and eggs
  • Omelet with lean sausage or bacon, spinach, tomatoes
  • 1-2 scoops of whey isolate or a casein/isolate protein powder combined with 8-16 oz. of water
  • Meat and a handful of nuts (i.e. Steak and almonds, Chicken breast and cashews, Turkey burger patty and walnuts


Leidy, H. J., Hoertel, H. A., Douglas, S. M., Higgins, K. A. and Shafer, R. S. (2015), A high‐protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents. Obesity, 23: 1761-1764. doi:10.1002/oby.21185

Leidy, Heather J, et al. “Beneficial Effects of a Higher-Protein Breakfast on the Appetitive, Hormonal, and Neural Signals Controlling Energy Intake Regulation in Overweight/Obese, ‘Breakfast-Skipping,’ Late-Adolescent Girls.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 97, no. 4, 2013, pp. 677–688., doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116.