Nutrition Q&A

Nutrition Q&A: Whey Too Much? And Should You Skip Breakfast?

Hunger/craving control is actually one of the reasons that intermittent fasting appeals to some people. In order to answer whether eating breakfast is important, we must look closely at your goals and priorities.
Nutrition Q&A 4-23-21

Question from Gordon

To hit my daily protein target (200 grams), I often have three scoops of whey per day (approximately 100 grams in total).

This is mainly due to the convenience, and I love coffee with vanilla whey! I have no digestion issues with whey at all.

Is there inherently anything “wrong” with this amount of whey powder regularly?

Answer

Gordon, there is nothing “wrong” with consuming three scoops of protein powder per day. I wouldn’t say that it is ideal, but if you tolerate it well and enjoy the taste, it is not causing you any harm.

It sounds like you are meeting half of your protein target with food. Ideally, I’d like to see you increase your protein coming from whole foods to at least ⅔ of your total protein intake. The easiest way to do this is to increase the portion sizes of the protein sources that you already consume slightly at each meal.

If you are going to supplement your protein needs heavily with whey protein, be sure to find a quality product and make sure that you know what else might be in the protein powder by examining the label carefully.

Question from Allen

Is eating breakfast really that important? I am trying to lose weight and have found that if I skip breakfast, I am less hungry and have fewer cravings than if I eat breakfast.

Answer

Allen, you are not alone in feeling that way. Hunger/craving control is actually one of the reasons that intermittent fasting appeals to some people. In order to answer whether eating breakfast is important, we must look closely at your goals and priorities.

The real question is whether you actually consume fewer calories per day if you skip a meal. If your priority is to lose weight, you must create a caloric deficit. Skipping meals or fasting for a portion of the day works for some people. Others end up eating more throughout the remainder of the day, which defeats the strategy that they were trying to employ.

Cravings and dips in energy are often caused by blood sugar fluctuations coming from what you consume. It’s not that eating breakfast makes you hungry. Rather, it’s what you eat for breakfast that may lead to cravings. If you wanted to give breakfast a try and avert cravings that follow, opt for a balanced low sugar breakfast high in protein and fiber. I recommend having carbs, protein, and fat at breakfast. (Example: veggie omelet with whole-grain toast.) Also, choose a breakfast that you chew versus a shake or fruit smoothie in order to prolong the digestive process and “feel full” longer.

I rarely recommend intermittent fasting or meal skipping as a strategy with my clients who are trying to lose weight. I want to build good habits by starting the day prioritizing nutrition rather than avoiding behavior related to food completely. It shouldn’t be about how long you can hold out before eating but about making choices that will nourish and satiate you while keeping you on track to reach your goals. Successful long-term weight management boils down to identifying what and how much to eat and then executing that plan.

If you could actually feel better, not have cravings, and continue to lose weight by eating breakfast, would you still skip it? I throw this back to you because when someone tells me they skip breakfast, I often find the real reason is that they don’t want to think about it, set time aside for it, or prepare breakfast. It comes down to an honest assessment of your goals and your sustainable plans to achieve them. What will work for you both now and in the future?


Coach Gillian Ward is Barbell Logic’s Director of Nutrition. She has spent a lifetime as a high-performing athlete, coach, and fitness and nutrition educator. If you have a question for Coach Gillian that you’d like to see answered in future issues of the Friday Five Newsletter, please fill out the form below.

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