Eating a protein-rich breakfast can be an effective tool in addressing childhood obesity, establishing healthier eating habits and helping to manage a healthy weight in children.
The global burden of childhood obesity is profound. Currently, one child in 10 is overweight or obese worldwide. Ten percent of the world’s school-aged children are estimated to have excess body fat, which leads to an increased risk for developing chronic disease.
Due to the increased risk of chronic diseases stemming from obesity, recent evidence suggests that this may be the first time in 200 years in which today’s children may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Thus, more effort is needed to identify significant contributors and possible treatment and prevention strategies to combat this epidemic. Because of its ability to impact satiety, soya protein can be an effective tool in addressing childhood obesity.
Excess weight is unhealthy for anyone; however, no other population segment is of more concern than children. Overweight children are more likely than normal-weight children to become obese adults. Overweight children face serious adverse physical and mental effects into adulthood, including increased risk of developing diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. Clearly, addressing overweight and obesity at a young age is essential.
Regularly consuming breakfast can positively impact a child’s health and well-being. Children who report consuming some type of breakfast
regularly tend to have superior nutritional intake than their breakfast-skipping peers.
Recent research has investigated the importance of protein in breakfast to ‘power’ kids through to lunch. When breakfast skipping teens were provided either a breakfast containing normal protein amounts (18g), a protein-rich breakfast (48g) and no breakfast, which was their normal practice, differences in appetite/satiety and subsequent food intake were observed.
Perceived appetite was not different following normal protein breakfast and breakfast skipping but a protein-rich breakfast led to greater reductions in appetite.
Fullness was also greater following both breakfast meals compared with skipping breakfast but was not different between meals. In addition, a breakfast rich in protein led to less energy (kcals) consumed at the subsequent lunch meal. These results suggest that a breakfast rich in dietary protein might be an effective strategy to improve appetite control in young people.
Key player in weight loss efforts
In another study, a high protein breakfast led to reduced activation of brain (limbic regions) associated with perceived hunger, desire to eat, and food motivation in overweight breakfast skipping adolescent girls.
Food choice and caloric consumption are a major part of the overweight/obesity equation. Numerous research studies have confirmed that protein is more satisfying than either carbohydrate or fat, and as such, is a key player in weight maintenance and weight loss efforts. It is well-known that eating high protein foods helps suppress appetite and food intake in humans.
Soya protein is low in fat and saturated fat, and is cholesterol-free. It is also the only widely available complete source of vegetable protein. As an excellent source of high quality protein, consumption of soya supports growth and development.
The inclusion of soya foods in the diets of children can establish healthier eating habits with greater satiety in children and therefore result in healthier weight management. When used in place of meat proteins, soya protein-based meat-alternatives decrease the caloric and saturated fat content of meals and and assit the combating of overweight and obesity in children.
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