If you follow any wellness influencers on social media, they're talking about protein, and for good reason. While protein deficiency isn't really a thing in the US, most people aren't eating the optimal amount, or at the right times.
Protein consumption has a ton of health benefits, especially with the first meal of the day. I'm not a huge fan of intermittent fasting, and this is a big reason why. Research suggests that consuming protein in the morning can enhance metabolic rate and contribute to greater calorie expenditure throughout the day. Additionally, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high-protein breakfast can significantly reduce post-meal cravings and increase satiety, ultimately leading to decreased overall calorie intake.
In contrast, intermittent fasting may lead to increased hunger and potentially overeating during the eating window, making it less sustainable and effective for some individuals. There is also evidence to show that prolonged fasting periods might actually contribute to DECREASED metabolic rates, potentially hindering weight loss efforts in the long run. Not to mention, it can be really hard to maintain over a longe period of time.
By prioritizing protein in the morning, women especially can support muscle maintenance, manage their appetite, and create a solid foundation for the rest of the day. The other reason I suggest this is that I know the day can go sideways sometimes when taking care of yourself or others. This ensures that even if you aren't able to proactively prioritize protein as much through your day, you've already got a great headstart.
What to shoot for? At least 30 grams of protein. Why? Research baby! Let's look at it a bit more closely.
Are you trying to lose weight? Get stronger? Increase your metabolic health? All of these things require more lean body tissue: muscle. Consuming 30-40 grams of protein in the morning contributes to muscle growth through a process known as muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This approach ensures that your muscles have a steady stream of nutrients, promoting effective recovery and growth. Also - during the night, your body is essentially fasting, and a protein-rich morning meal helps offset the overnight fasting period, where your body is breaking down tissue for energy. Eating a meal with 30-40 grams of protein first thing in the morning stops this process and gets your body moving in the right direction.
Ideally, each meal has around 20-30 grams of protein, and each snack has at least 15 grams. Need even more motivation to keep it going through the day?
Enhances Cognitive Function: Protein isn't just about those muscle #gains, but also brain gains! A protein-rich breakfast provides the amino acids necessary for the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, contributing to improved cognitive function and mood
Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels: A balanced breakfast, combining protein (at least 30 grams - remember :) with carbohydrates and healthy fats, can prevent rapid spikes and crashes in blood glucose, promoting sustained energy throughout the morning.
Hormonal Balance: Trying to balance those hormones? Proteins are involved in the synthesis and regulation of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which are essential for reproductive health, bone density, and overall well-being
Weight Management: Protein helps you feel full longer helping to control appetite and reduce overall calorie intake. Studies suggest that a higher protein intake can aid in weight management by promoting feelings of fullness and supporting fat loss while preserving lean body mass
It takes a bit more planning to start your day this way but once you get in the habit of it, it becomes much easier. Want to take the guess work out of it? My one-on-one coaching and personalized meal plans will give you a plan with exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner to hit these goals. Check out my Services or Shop to see what works for you.