Eating breakfast reduces cravings

There's a new volley in the debate over the importance of breakfast.

A new study, published in Nutrition Journal, found that breakfast may reduce sweet tooth cravings in teenage girls throughout the day. Researchers from the University of Missouri in Columbia had 20 overweight girls ages 18 to 20 who usually skip breakfast, change their eating patterns for seven days in three different ways. In the first pattern, the girls ate a 350-calorie breakfast with an average amount of protein. In the second pattern, the girls ate a 350-calorie breakfast with a high amount of protein. In the third pattern, breakfast was skipped altogether. The girls took a week break in between each eating pattern test. On the morning of the seventh day of each eating pattern, the girls completed a food cravings questionnaire and their dopamine levels were checked.

The results revealed the first two breakfast patterns showed lower sweet cravings and higher dopamine levels. The higher protein pattern resulted in longer hours of lowered cravings and increased dopamine.

Why does breakfast reduce cravings? Because when we eat, the brain releases dopamine, which triggers feelings of reward. This helps to control impulses. The study also notes that overweight or obese people require more stimulation, or food, to receive those rewards and satisfy cravings.

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