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Breakfast habits in teens may influence metabolic response

Posted:  Thursday, March 05, 2015

Yet another study has highlighted the importance of eating breakfast in teenagers. American researchers showed that those who regularly skipped breakfast showed poorer glycaemic control after a high-protein breakfast, whereas those who religiously ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast showed improved glucose response after the same. Their suggestion: routine breakfast skippers should gradually increase their protein intake at breakfast.

The researchers evaluated 35 overweight young women who either habitually ate breakfast or habitually skipped it. For the study, the habitual breakfast skippers ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast, a high-protein breakfast or continued to skip breakfast for 3 consecutive days. Those who consumed breakfast habitually were given a high-carbohydrate or a high protein breakfast for 4 consecutive days.

On the fourth day of the study, the researchers measured the blood glucose levels of the participants throughout the day. The researchers noted the following:

•    The researchers found that the participants’ response to the high-carbohydrate versus high- protein diet was influenced by their routine breakfast habits.

•   Among the breakfast skippers, the high-protein breakfast brought about an increase in the blood glucose levels throughout the day compared to skipping breakfast.

•   In the same group, the high-carbohydrate breakfast did not trigger such an effect.

•   Among the routine breakfast consumers, the high-protein breakfast led to reduced glucose levels throughout the day.

Talking about the findings, the researchers said, "These findings may indicate an increased inability among habitual breakfast skippers to metabolise a large quantity of protein. Unfortunately, we don't yet know how long someone who has been skipping breakfast needs to continue eating breakfast to experience benefits. However, our data would suggest that once someone begins to eat breakfast, they should gradually transition to a breakfast with more protein - or about 30 grams - to elicit improvements in glycaemic control."

Sustained elevations in postprandial blood glucose levels may contribute to poor glycaemic control and an increased risk for the development of type-2 diabetes. According to the researchers, young women should aim for a 350 calorie breakfast, with 30 grams of protein, preferably from sources such as eggs, lean meat and Greek yoghurt to reduce this long-term risk.

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