Should Your Breakfast Pack A Protein Punch?


5 Min Read

Beginning your day with a protein-packed punch is good, but only if it is tempered by a balance of other nutrients. While proteins help sustain your energy levels, keep you satiated, and build muscle, too much can affect your concentration skills and put you at a risk of bone loss and developing kidney stones. RDI of protein for women > age 19 is 46 g and 56 g for men.

To breakfast or to Bulletproof? This seems to be the hottest debate among the health-conscious, and while the latter may work wonders for some, others feel that a good, balanced breakfast will set you up for a productive and energetic day ahead.1 So, what exactly makes a good breakfast?

Why You Need Protein

Protein is one of the body’s main building blocks, and is an essential part of a satisfying breakfast. Foods like salmon, eggs, and nuts are great ways to pack in protein at the beginning of your day. Leaving the majority of your protein consumption for dinner can prevent maximal muscle maintenance since the body can only use a certain amount of protein at and given time; it’s best to spread out your intake of this essential macronutrient [Claire St John M.P.H., R.D.N., 5 Reasons to Eat a Protein-Packed Breakfast, Dairy Council Of California]. Increased protein at breakfast (compared to other meal times) will also leave you satiated longer,2 and help sustain your energy levels. This can help control your cravings and leave you less tempted to have a sugary snack later in the day.3 A protein-packed breakfast can also protect you from liver and metabolic disorders and promote overall long-term health.4

But Can You Have Too Much Protein?

Indeed. Anything in excess is never recommended. By starting your day off with a protein-rich breakfast, you may end up consuming too much protein during the day. The recommended daily intake is 46 grams for women over the age of 19 is 46 grams, and 56 grams for men.5 Consuming too much protein can lead to hypercalciuria (elevated calcium in the urine) and bone loss. There is also the possibility of developing kidney stones if you’re not drinking enough fluids.6 And, get this: While protein can help with your memory recall, it may also interfere with your ability to concentrate.7 As with everything, moderation is absolutely essential.

Where’s Your Protein Coming From?

Of course, it isn’t just about the quantity but the quality of your protein. Eggs are one of the best, most inexpensive sources of both protein and other essential nutrients, and so are nuts, beans, and plain Greek yogurt. Oatmeal, with its high amount of fiber, can also be a satiating option (top with nuts and seeds for an even bigger protein punch).8 Remember that whole-grain breads and some vegetables (like broccoli, peas, asparagus, and mushrooms) also contain a good amount of protein.

Choose fish and unprocessed lean meats over processed meats like sausage and bacon, which can increase your risk of developing colon cancer.9 The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says that processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans” and red meat is “probably carcinogenic”.10

Whey protein is another way to boost your breakfast, and many athletes and exercisers will add it to their morning smoothies or shakes since it is quickly digested. This, however, also results in a quicker insulin release, so it may not be the best option for those with insulin resistance or diabetes.11

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 10 to 35% of your daily calories should come from protein.

Ayurveda And Breakfast

Ayurveda recommends having a healthy breakfast, but one that isn’t too heavy. Interestingly, it advises against eating fruit, dairy, or fats, all which can cause bloating or acidity.12 Instead, pick warm cereals over cold ones, and cooked fruit over raw fruit. And skip the bacon and fried eggs.

Overall, a healthy breakfast (with a satiating amount of protein) should leave the body energized and nourished and the mind alert yet calm — the best way to start your day.

References   [ + ]

1.Breakfast and Health, International Food Information Council Foundation
2.Leidy, Heather J., Mandi J. Bossingham, Richard D. Mattes, and Wayne W. Campbell. “Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times.” British Journal of Nutrition 101, no. 06 (2009): 798-803.
3, 8.Holt SH, Miller JC, Petocz P, Farmakalidis E. A satiety index of common foods.Eur J Clin Nutr .1995 ;49:675-690; Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:1558S–61S
4.Kamada, Ikuko, Laurence Truman, Justine Bold, and Denise Mortimore. “The impact of breakfast in metabolic and digestive health.” Gastroenterology and Hepatology from bed to bench 4, no. 2 (2011): 76.
5, 9.Marmot, Michael, T. Atinmo, T. Byers, J. Chen, T. Hirohata, A. Jackson, W. James et al. “Food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective.” (2007).
6.Goldfarb, David S., and Fredric L. Coe. “Prevention of recurrent nephrolithiasis.” American family physician 60, no. 8 (1999): 2269-2276.
7.Michaud, Claude, Nadine Musse, Jean P. Nicolas, and Luc Mejean. “Effects of breakfast-size on short-term memory, concentration, mood and blood glucose.” Journal of Adolescent Health 12, no. 1 (1991): 53-57.
10.International Agency for Research on Cancer. “IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat.” (2015).
11.Plasma glucagon and insulin responses depend on the rate of appearance of amino acids after ingestion of different protein solutions in humans.
12.Yoga Journal Oct 2006
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.