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The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents



Breakfast skipping (BS) is closely associated with overeating (in the evening), weight gain and obesity. It is unclear whether the addition of breakfast, with emphasis on dietary protein, leads to better appetite and energy intake regulation in adolescents.


The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of addition of a normal-protein (PN) breakfast vs protein-rich (PR) breakfast on appetite and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents.

Subjects and Design:

A total of 13 adolescents (age 14.3±0.3 years; body mass index percentile 79±4 percentile; skipped breakfast 5±1 × per week) randomly completed 3 testing days that included a PN (18±1 g protein), PR (48±2 g protein) or BS. Breakfast was 24% of estimated daily energy needs. Appetite, satiety and hormonal responses were collected over 5 h followed by an ad libitum lunch and 24-h food intake assessments.


Perceived appetite was not different following PN vs BS; PR led to greater reductions vs BS (P<0.01) and PN (P<0.001). Fullness was greater following both breakfast meals vs BS (P<0.01) but was not different between meals. Ghrelin was not different among treatments. Greater PYY concentrations were observed following both breakfast meals vs BS (P<0.01) but was not different between meals. Lunch energy intake was not different following PN vs BS; PR led to fewer kcal consumed vs BS (P<0.01) and PN (P<0.005). Daily food intake was not different among treatments.


Breakfast led to increased satiety through increased fullness and PYY concentrations in ‘breakfast skipping’ adolescents. A breakfast rich in dietary protein provides additional benefits through reductions in appetite and energy intake. These findings suggest that the addition of a protein-rich breakfast might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control in young people.

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We thank the study participants for their dedication and compliance; GCRC Administrative (Judy Otey, Jo Denton), Nursing (Jody Mahan, Denise Schaeffer), Bionutrition (Debra Sullivan, Jeannine Goetz) and other support (Kristy Anderson, Joel Pratt) staff for assisting with catheter insertions, blood collections and processing, and/or other screening/testing-day procedures and activities. We would also like to thank Candice Coffey, KUMC-School of Medicine medical student, who assisted with the testing-day procedures as well. This study was funded through the KUMC-GCRC Grant M01 RR023940 NCRR/NIH and the KUMC-School of Allied Health Research Award.

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Correspondence to H J Leidy.

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Leidy, H., Racki, E. The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents. Int J Obes 34, 1125–1133 (2010).

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  • breakfast skipping
  • appetite
  • ghrelin
  • PYY
  • increased dietary protein

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