Monday, October 27, 2014
Breakfast is very often a casualty in the hustle and bustle of modern day living. The importance of eating breakfast for the prevention of obesity and overweight has been highlighted by a recent study. This study has shown that consumption of breakfast among late teen girls is associated with an increase in the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward centre. This increase may help reduce sweet food cravings and overeating during the rest of the day.
According to the study published in the Nutrition Journal, the brain chemical dopamine is involved in controlling impulses and an increase in dopamine levels is associated with reduced food cravings and overeating. In obese individuals, however, the dopamine effect is blunted, and hence these individuals require larger amounts of food to elicit a feeling of reward. Skipping breakfast seems to produce a similar effect.
In this randomized crossover study, researchers employed 20 overweight girls aged between 18 and 20 who normally skipped breakfast. Each of them underwent three types of 7-day eating patterns:
• First pattern - A 350 calorie breakfast with normal amounts of protein
• Second pattern - A 350 calorie breakfast with high protein
• Third pattern - They skipped breakfast
After completion of a 7- day pattern, the girls had a 7-day "wash out period" before starting the next 7-day pattern. On the morning of the 7th day of each of the three patterns, the girls underwent assessments, which included filling out food craving questionnaires. The researchers also checked blood samples for the dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid to assess fluctuations in the dopamine levels.
They found that both the first and second patterns of breakfast were associated with reduced cravings for sweet and savoury foods and higher levels of the dopamine metabolite. However, in comparison to the normal-protein breakfast, the high-protein breakfast was associated with greater reductions in cravings for savoury food and sustained levels of the dopamine metabolite up until lunch. Although this study was done in late-teen girls, the researchers believe the results can be applied to all adults as well.
“People experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast. Breakfasts that are high in protein also reduced cravings for savoury - or high-fat - foods. On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day," said the researchers. They explained these findings saying that the release of dopamine stimulates feelings of reward which in turn helps regulate food intake.
The rates of skipping breakfast and teenage obesity have risen alarmingly in recent decades. Understanding how dopamine levels in the brain affect food cravings could help scientists develop better ways to prevent and treat obesity in the future.
For study details:-Click Here!