High Protein Breakfast Helps With Fat Loss by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND

High Protein Breakfast Helps with Fat Loss

Here’s a great reason to eat a high protein breakfast – you may eat fewer calories for the rest of the day and lose body fat, too.

While most people domanage to eat something in the morning, there are still about 31 million Americans – about 10% of the population – who routinely skip breakfast. Not surprisingly, the numbers are highest among teens and young adults – many of whom say they simply don’t have time to eat breakfast in the morning. But, even for those who do eat breakfast, it’s hardly protein-packed – the top three breakfast foods in America are cold cereal, toast and bananas.1

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Even though breakfast is often called “the most important meal of the day” – and a healthy habit that has been linked to a reduced risk of weight gain – much of the benefit may depend on what that meal actually consists of.

In a recent study conducted at the University of Missouri,2 researchers recruited 28 overweight students who routinely skipped breakfast at least five days a week. The aim of the study was to compare the effects of two different 350-calorie breakfasts (a “standard” protein meal with 13 grams of protein vs. a high protein breakfast with 35 grams of protein) on hunger, food intake and body weight over a period of twelve weeks.

The students were randomly divided into two groups, and were provided a daily breakfast meal of either cereal and milk (the standard protein group) or one that included eggs, dairy products and lean meat (the high protein group). A third group of breakfast-skippers served as a control – they were asked to simply continue skipping breakfast as they usually did.

Those in the high protein group had more stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, and the students reported that the breakfast helped them to feel more full during the day, too. In fact, those who ate the high protein breakfast every morning ended up eating lessfood over the course of the day – about 400 calories less than their usual intake – which led to a loss of body fat.

On the other hand, those who ate the lower protein breakfast – or skipped the meal altogether – gained body fat over the 12 weeks. This is worth noting, since many breakfast-skippers defend their habit in the belief it will save them calories and lead to weight loss.

The study was small and only included young adults, so it is yet to be seen if the same effects would be seen in a larger group of people. The study does, however, provide additional evidence that protein helps with appetite control, and that eating a relatively high protein breakfast may help to set the stage for more calorie-controlled choices for the rest of the day.*

The key to eating 35 grams of protein within a 350-calorie limit is to choose high-quality proteins – like eggs and egg whites, nonfat and low fat dairy products (milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt) and lean meats, as well as protein powders that can be added to shakes or stirred into scrambled eggs for a protein boost.

Here are a few high protein breakfast ideas, all with less than 350 calories.

  • Protein shake made with 2 scoops Herbalife® Formula 1 Nutritional Shake mix, 1 scoop Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder, 1 cup (240mL) lowfat milk, ½ cup vanilla Greek-style yogurt and fruit. (36g protein, 280 calories)
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese topped with 1 diced hard-boiled egg and chopped mixed vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumber), sprinkled with salt and pepper. (34g protein, 265 calories)
  • 5 ounces (150g) canned salmon mixed with a dab of mustard; spread on 5 whole grain crackers and top with sliced tomato. (33g protein, 300 calories)
  • 1 slices 100% whole grain toast spread topped with 4 ounces (120g) sliced turkey breast and ¼ sliced avocado. (37g protein, 320 calories)
  • Protein breakfast pudding: whip 1 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt (any flavor) in the blender with 2 scoops Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder, 1 TBSP chia seeds and 1 cup diced fresh fruit. (34g protein, 300 calories)


2Bauer LB et al. Int J Obesity. June 1, 2015.

*This study was not conducted using Herbalife® products. Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix has less protein and fewer calories (18g protein and 210 total calories when prepared as directed with 8 oz low fat milk) than the meals used in the study.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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