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High Protein Breakfast May Help Energy Balance In Overweight Teen Girls

High Protein Breakfast  May Help Energy Balance In Overweight Teen Girls 

Breakfast can alter appetite hormones and key brain regions

Written by Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D, Editor In Chief for Nutrition Remarks, Solon, OH, USA

Reviewed by Dr. Heather Leidy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. USA

Nutrition Remarks Health News Highlights (April  26, 2013) Print PDF of High Protein Breakfast May Help Energy Balance In Overweight Teen Girls

There are many reasons why many Americans skip breakfast. But the consequences can be detrimental, particularly for teens who are overweight/obese. Breakfast skipping might increase the desire to eat larger dinner meals, eat in-between meals, or even eat unhealthy snacks throughout the evening. Thus, the addition of breakfast might play a significant role in obesity treatment and/or prevention.

Obese youngsters are likely to be at high risk for heart diseases, diabetes and even some types of cancer.

An interesting study led by Prof. Leidy at the University of Missouri and published in American Journal of Nutrition, revealed the potential of  high protein breakfast meals in reducing unhealthy snacking in overweight/obese ‘breakfast skipping’ teens.


Brain regions which displayed reduced activation eight hours after the consumption of the high protein breakfast

Brain regions which displayed reduced activation eight hours after the consumption of the high protein breakfast

In the study,  20 late-adolescent overweight/obese ‘breakfast skipping’ girls ate, on separate weeks, normal protein ready-to-eat cereal-based breakfast meals or  high protein egg and lean beef-based breakfast meals or continued to skip breakfast  The study findings reveal that the high protein breakfast increases satiety, reduces food motivation and reward, and reduces unhealthy evening snacking (on high fat and high sugar foods) compared to skipping breakfast or eating a normal protein cereal breakfast.

Though the study is limited for 20 girls for only 7 days/pattern, the study focused both on physiologic and non-physiologic aspects and used detailed blood sample analysis and brain fMRI imaging. Compared to the normal protein breakfast, the high protein breakfast led to reduced dinner-time brain activation in the hippocampus and parahippocampus areas-which are brain regions controlling food reward/cravings. Authors anticipate that if the same eating pattern continues more than 7 days and for up to a longer period of time, there may be a significant reduction in daily energy intake leading to weight loss. This hypothesis is further supported by other previous studies that described breakfast skipping is associated with weight gain. A study published in 2010, in the International Journal of Obesity by Dr. Tasi’s group (Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taipei Branch, Taipei, Taiwan), reported that breakfast plays a potential role in obesity prevention. Another recent study published in Public Health Nutrition journal by Dr. Manios’s group (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), highlights that higher dairy consumption with a more adequate breakfast is one of the important initiatives to be considered for childhood obesity prevention.

Though further comprehensive studies are required to better describe exact mechanisms, this study from Dr. Leidy’s group and other related studies highlight the importance of breakfast with optimal protein for energy intake regulation and weight management specifically in overweight/obese youngsters.

This information is primarily based on the following article published by . Dr. Heather Leidy, PhD. Additional information abstracted from PubMed, CDC , USDA and other reliable sources.

Leidy et al. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Nutrition.

Copyright © 2013 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved          



Apples against body fat

Apples against body fat

Can an apple a day help to keep fat away?

Written by Emily Creasy, MS, RD, LD, (Nutrition Remarks writer), Reviewed by Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D.

Health News Highlights (April 26, 2012) <<< Print PDF>>>

Apples are a rich source of polyphenols that can help to promote weight loss and fat metabolism. A study by Nagasakome-Akazome, at the Fundamental Research Laboratory, Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Moriya-shi, Ibaraki, Japan, found that consuming 600 mg polyphenols each day can also decrease abdominal fat, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, which over time can help decrease your risk for heart disease. Because the polyphenol content of apples can vary, to achieve such results, an intake of approximately three apples per day is needed. According to a study by Dr. Maria Conceic¸a˜o de Oliveira, in Nutrition Journal, overweight females who consumed three apples per day over the course of 12 weeks lost approximately 2.6 pounds, while making no other significant changes to their diet or activity level. After the study, it was also observed that participants had significant decreases in blood glucose levels, suggesting that apple intake may help with diabetes management as well.

The polyphenols in apples work in your body to prevent the absorption of fats. Consumption of polyphenols is associated with increased fatty acids excreted by the body in feces, indicating that polyphenols can help to promote fat breakdown in the body. Polyphenol intake through the use of apples or apple beverages has been found to reduce body fat levels regardless of the amount or duration of apple consumption. Dr. Nagasako-Akazome and colleagues suggest that polyphenols also work to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to cholesterol making it easier to be removed by the body. It is important to note that both apples and apple beverages contain natural carbohydrates, or sugars, which, when consumed in excess can result in high blood sugar levels and unwanted weight gain. Look for unsweetened or low sugar varieties of apple beverages and snacks when possible.

It is difficult to follow a polyphenol free diet, nor would you want to. Foods richest in polyphenols include fruits, tea, coffee, red wine, vegetables, legumes, and cereal grains. According to a study by Dr. Lachman and colleagues of the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, which analyzed the polyphenol content of 15 varieties of fresh apples, the average amount of polyphenols in an apple varies from 760 to 1,343 mg/kg. This is similar to findings by Dr. Vrhovsek and colleagues of the Istituto Agrario di San Michele, Italy, who found the total polyphenol content of eight different fresh apple varieties to range anywhere from 662 to 2,119 mg/kg. The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference indicates that a large apple weighs approximately 223 g or 0.223 kg. Based on this, one large apple can provide anywhere from 147.6 to 472.5 mg polyphenols. The study also indicated that a majority of the polyphenol content in apples can be found in the apple peel, not the flesh. The major polyphenolic compounds in apples include anthocyanidines, quercetin, flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, and flavanones. The polyphenol content in apples varies due to a number of factors including the type of apple, maturity or ripeness, length and temperature of storage. Highest polyphenol activity was found in Jonagold, Melrose, and Sampion varieties, all containing over 1,200 mg/kg. Polyphenol content is also noted to decrease as the apple ages.

In addition to containing polyphenols, apples are also a source of vitamin C. Like polyphenols, vitamin C is a type of antioxidant that can help to keep your body healthy. Antioxidants are natural substances that work to protect your body from disease and cancer causing free radicals. Free radicals are electrically charged atoms, or groups of atoms, that demand electrons. Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen species (ROS and RNS) are the most common forms of harmful free radicals. These unstable oxygen and nitrogen molecules are scattered and traveling almost everywhere in the body stealing electrons from other molecules in an attempt to stabilize themselves. This can cause damage to healthy cells and cellular components such as DNA, lipids, and proteins, putting your body more at risk for diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. Much like a chain reaction, free radicals can spread causing more and more damage over time. During periods of illness or infection, the increased stress on your body can cause it to form more ROS and RNS. Antioxidants, like polyphenols and vitamin C, work to stabilize free radicals and prevent them from causing injury to healthy cells. They also help to repair cells and tissues, which may have already been damaged by free radicals.

A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy can help you maintain a healthy weight and a healthy body. While studies have shown that both excessive intake and long-term intake of polyphenols poses no health risk, like all foods, it is important to monitor portion sizes and enjoy foods in moderation so as to avoid excessive calorie intake and unwanted weight gain. Apples can be a convenient snack or meal accompaniment that is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and valuable antioxidants such as polyphenols. Because they have been shown to help decrease fat, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, as well as decrease your risk for weight gain and heart disease, eating an apple a day may actually help to keep the doctor away.


Akazome Y, Kametani N, Kanda T, Shimasaki H, Kobayashi S. Evaluation of safety of excessive intake and efficacy of long-term intake of beverages containing apple polyphenols. Journal of Oleo Science. 2010.

Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ohtake Y, Shimasaki H, Kobayashi T. Apple polyphenols influence cholesterol metabolism in healthy subjects with relatively high body mass index. Journal of Oleo Science. 2007.

Conceição de Oliveira M, Sichieri R, Sanchez Moura A. Weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women. Nutrition. March 2003.

J. Lachman, M. Šulc, J. Sus, O. Pavlíková. Polyphenol content and antiradical activity in different apple varieties. Horticulture Science (Prague). 2006.

Wolfe K, Wu X, Liu RH. Antioxidant activity of apple peels. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. January 2003.

Valko M, Rhodes CJ, Moncol J, Izakovic M, Mazur M. Free radicals, metals and antioxidants in oxidative stress-induced cancer. Chemico-Biological Interactions. March 2006.

USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods Release 2.1. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/Flav02-1.pdf

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Apples, raw, with skin.

National Institutes of Health: Medline Plus. Vitamin C. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm

National Cancer Institute. Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants

National Cancer Institute. Free Radical. http://www.cancer.gov/Common/PopUps/popDefinition.aspx?id=CDR0000044030&version=Patient&language=English

Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved

Is it true that eating slowly will help you lose weight?

Is it true that eating slowly will help you lose weight?

Are you overweight and eating fast? Learn to eat slowly, You may avoid weight gain.

Frontier Voice of Nutrition Remarks (February 13, 2012) <<<Print PDF>>>

Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D., interviewed Dr. Eric R Muth, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and
Director of the Human Factors Institute Clemson, SC, USA.

Eating too fast may increase the risk of weight gain. If you are a fast eater and you want to maintain your healthy weight or stop unhealthy weight gain, it may be worthwhile to slow down the rate of eating.

Even if you have eaten enough for your physiological needs, you can eat beyond those needs because it takes time for your brain to sense and signal that you are full. If you eat fast, by the time your brain knows that you are full, you may have already overeaten. Overeating leads to intake of more calories than you need and those excess calories will store in the body and make you gain weight. Therefore, if you eat slowly and give your body time to understand and signal fullness, you may have a better chance of stopping before you overeat.

Scientists are working to uncover the mechanisms that link slow eating and weight gain prevention. When eating fast, you put lot of calories in before you feel full. Scientific evidence supports the idea that eating slower may reduce the calorie intake and eventually prevent unhealthy weight gain.

A recent exciting study conducted by researchers at Clemson University, South Carolina, USA showed that the calorie intake of overeating individuals who consume larger amounts of food can be controlled by learning to eat slowly. Nutrition Remarks interviewed the principle investigator, Dr. Eric R Muth, Ph.D., of the study and a simplified version of the conversation is given below:

Question from Nutrition Remarks: What scientific evidence is in favor of the fact that fast eaters eat more compared to slow eaters?

Answer from Dr. Muth: Studies have found an association with fast eating, obesity and weight gain. However, interventions to slow down eating do not always lead to weight loss. So, it is possible that eating rate is associated with obesity and weight gain, not as a causal factor, but just somehow as a coincidence.

Also, it is known that obese individual eat faster and take larger bites, both of which increase the calorie intake. On the other hand, a study from Dr. Martin’s research group at Pennington Biomedical Research Center showed that reduced eating rate could decrease calorie intake in men but not in women. Therefore, these observations that some scientific studies show reducing eating rate could reduce overall calorie intake should be more intensely studied and define criteria and recommendations in detail. For example, slowing eating rate will likely not help a person who already eats slowly.

Question: What are the known/proposed mechanisms that explain how fast eating helps high calorie intake?

Answer: The general idea is that it takes time for satiety cues (a signal from your body to brain to tell that you are full) to stop eating. People can eat fast and eat too much before the cues have time to work. Slowing eating speed gives more time for the cues to work and for people to pay more attention to the cues.

Question: How do you like to describe the bite-rate counter?

Answer: The bite rate counter is a wristwatch like small device that can be worn on the wrist of the hand use to eat. It automatically counts bites.

Question: How does the bite rate monitoring by the bite-rate counter help to reduce calorie intake?

Answer: It cues people in a way that gives faster feedback than the body’s own satiety cues. In other words, it will tell how fast you eat. Therefore, you can adjust yourself to eat slowly during the meal. One of the other interesting advantages of the bite-rate counter is that it can be programmed in a variety of different ways according to the needs of the user. Therefore, the bite counter can have pre-set limits that show a person when to stop.

Question: Can the bite counter be used easily and how practical it is?

Answer: Yes, it is worn like a watch and can be used in real-time. Data stored on the device can be downloaded to a computer if desired. In addition, the settings on the device can be customized using computer software.

Question: Your study shows that only the big meal eaters can benefit by this intervention. How do you like to describe the fact that calorie intake was not reduced in those who ate less than 400kcal in your study?

Answer: Yes, it seems that slowing bite-rate with the bite-rate counter may be most effective for individuals who consume larger amounts of food but not individuals who eat small meals. This is called a ceiling effect. When the baseline is high, it is easier to make it go down than up. The opposite is a floor effect. When the baseline is low, it is easier to make it go up than down.

Question: How do you describe the psychological effect of bite counter?

Answer: In one sense you can think of it as a biofeedback device. In another sense, you can think of it as a non-judgmental reminder.

This news release was based on the original scientific article published by Dr. Muth in Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Additional general background information was acquired from PubMed and NIH sources.

Original work; Scisco et al., Slowing bite-rate reduces energy intake: an application of the bite counter device. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug ;111(8):1231-5.

Dr. Eric R. Muth Ph.D., is a Professor and Director of Human Factors Institute, Department of Psychology, Clemson University. Dr. Muth has specific expertise in measuring human physiology in free living humans. His current work focuses on tracking intake behavior using simple, wearable devices.

Adam Hoover and Dr. Muth, are partners in a company, “Bite Technologies,” that markets and sells a bite-counter device. Clemson University has filed a US patent for intellectual property known as “The Weight Watch”, serial no. 61/144,203 having a filing date of January 13, 2009. Bite Technologies has licensed the method from Clemson University and has been funded by South Carolina Launch, a state organization that incubates startup companies associated with university intellectual property. Bite Technologies manufactures self-contained, portable versions of the Bite Counter.

Dr. Muth would like to acknowledge his main collaborator and business partner, Dr. Adam Hoover, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Jenna Scisco, a PhD candidate in his lab, was the lead investigator on the slow eating paper. Yujie Dong, a PhD candidate in Dr. Hoover’s lab also collaborated on the project.

Specific funding for the paper: Jenna Scisco was funded on a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate(NDSEG) fellowship through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Funding for experiment materials was provided by a Creative Inquiry grant from Clemson University.

More about Dr. Eric Muth and work




Written by Nalin Siriwardhana, PhD. and Amanda Fields


Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved