Proposed strategies for preventing protein deficiencies in older patients include increasing protein intake at breakfast. However, protein is highly satiating and the effects of very high protein intakes at breakfast on subsequent appetite and free-living energy intake (EI) in older adults are unclear. This study compared the acute effects of two breakfast drinks varying in protein and energy contents on appetite and free-living EI in healthy older adults using a randomized 2 × 2 crossover design. Participants (n = 48 (20 men, 28 women); mean ± SD age: 69 ± 3 years; BMI: 22.2 ± 2.0 kg·m−2; fat-free mass: 45.5 ± 8.0 kg) consumed two drinks for breakfast (high-protein (30.4 ± 5.3 g), low-energy (211.2 ± 37.1 kcal) content (HPLE) and very high-protein (61.8 ± 9.9 g), fed to energy requirements (428.0 ± 68.9 kcal) (VHPER)) one week apart. Appetite perceptions were assessed for 3 h post-drink and free-living EI was measured for the remainder of the day. Appetite was lower in VHPER than HPLE from 30 min onwards (p < 0.01). Free-living energy and protein intake did not differ between conditions (p = 0.814). However, 24 h EI (breakfast drink intake + free-living intake) was greater in VHPER than HPLE (1937 ± 568 kcal vs. 1705 ± 490 kcal; p = 0.001), as was 24 h protein intake (123.0 ± 26.0 g vs. 88.6 ± 20.9 g; p < 0.001). Consuming a very high-protein breakfast drink acutely suppressed appetite more than a low-energy, high-protein drink in older adults, though free-living EI was unaffected. The long-term effects of adopting such a breakfast strategy in older adults at high risk of energy and protein malnutrition warrants exploration.
- energy intake