High-Protein and High-Dietary Fiber Breakfasts Result in Equal Feelings of Fullness and Better Diet Quality in Low-Income Preschoolers Compared with Their Usual Breakfast

J Nutr. 2017 Mar;147(3):445-452. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.234153. Epub 2017 Jan 11.


Background: In the United States, 17% of children are currently obese. Increasing feelings of fullness may prevent excessive energy intake, lead to better diet quality, and promote long-term maintenance of healthy weight.Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop a fullness-rating tool (aim 1) and to determine whether a high-protein (HP), high-fiber (HF), and combined HP and HF (HPHF) breakfast increases preschoolers' feelings of fullness before (pre) and after (post) breakfast and pre-lunch, as well as their diet quality, as measured by using a composite diet quality assessment tool, the Revised Children's Diet Quality Index (aim 2).Methods: Children aged 4 and 5 y (n = 41; 22 girls and 19 boys) from local Head Start centers participated in this randomized intervention trial. Sixteen percent of boys and 32% of girls were overweight or obese. After the baseline week, children rotated through four 1-wk periods of consuming ad libitum HP (19-20 g protein), HF (10-11 g fiber), HPHF (19-21 g protein, 10-12 g fiber), or usual (control) breakfasts. Food intake at breakfast was estimated daily, and for breakfast, lunch, and snack on day 3 of each study week Student's t tests and ANOVA were used to determine statistical differences.Results: Children's post-breakfast and pre-lunch fullness ratings were ≥1 point higher than those of pre-breakfast (aim 1). Although children consumed, on average, 65 kcal less energy during the intervention breakfasts (P < 0.007) than during the control breakfast, fullness ratings did not differ (P = 0.76). Relative to the control breakfast, improved diet quality (12%) was calculated for the HP and HF breakfasts (P < 0.027) but not for the HPHF breakfast (aim 2).Conclusions: Post-breakfast fullness ratings were not affected by the intervention breakfasts relative to the control breakfast. HP and HF breakfasts resulted in higher diet quality. Serving HP or HF breakfasts may be valuable in improving diet quality without lowering feelings of satiation or satiety. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02122224.

Keywords: RCDQI; breakfast; diet quality; fiber; fullness; hunger; preschool; protein; spontaneous compensation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals*
  • Poverty
  • Satiety Response / drug effects*


  • Dietary Proteins

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02122224
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02122224