Breakfast protein may be key to weight loss, CSIRO reports

Eating more protein, especially at breakfast, could be the key to achieving healthy weight loss, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The report, Protein Balance: New concepts for Protein in Weight Management, affirms the benefits of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet for weight control and reveals that the latest scientific evidence supports eating at least 25 grams of protein at each main meal to control hunger and enhance muscle metabolism.

The new Total Wellbeing Diet Protein Balance program focuses on shifting more protein consumption to breakfast.

“The average Australian eats much lower amounts of protein at breakfast, so increasing breakfast protein may help to control eating later in the day,” said Professor Manny Noakes, Senior Principal Research Scientist for CSIRO and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

“If you find it difficult to control what you eat, a redistribution of protein toward breakfast may be the answer to reducing your waistline without leaving you ravenously hungry and craving unhealthy foods.”

The CSIRO report showed that for most Australians, protein intake was skewed towards the evening meal, with only small amounts eaten at breakfast. On average women consumed 11 grams of protein at breakfast, compared to the male average of 15 grams.

The report also found that older Australians consumed the least amount of protein at breakfast but needed more protein to prevent muscle loss.

“The scientific evidence supports a higher protein diet, combined with regular exercise, for greater fat loss. Eating at least 25 grams of protein at main meals can assist with hunger control,” Professor Noakes said.

According to the report, Australians get more than one-third of their dietary protein from low-quality sources such as processed foods, instead of whole protein sources including lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes and dairy.

Adopting a higher protein, moderate carbohydrate, low GI diet is a nutritious way to lose weight and has been scientifically validated for some time.

“Two in three Australian adults are either overweight or obese, which increases their risk factors for many chronic health conditions,” Professor Noakes said.

“With a variety of genetic, lifestyle and personality factors at play, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, but there is a range of healthy ways to lose weight.”

The Total Wellbeing Diet Protein Balance program includes recipes that provide 25 grams of protein in every meal.