Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Food Science (MS)

Degree Level



Food Science


Jamie I. Baum

Committee Member

Sun-Ok Lee

Second Committee Member

Sami Dridi

Third Committee Member

Stavros Kavouras


Health and environmental sciences, Breakfast, Energy expenditure, Protein


Obesity is a global health concern and, within the United States, the current obesity rate is 36% and projected to double within the next two decades. Obesity is linked to many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In young females, weight gain (5-11 kg) between the ages of 20-30 years increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders later in life. The cause of obesity is multifactorial in nature, however fundamentally weight gain occurs when energy intake is greater than energy expended (i.e. calories in > calories out). Therefore, identifying and validating nutritional intervention strategies to modulate energy balance is necessary in order to treat and prevent weight gain in the future. There is an abundance of scientific literature demonstrating diets higher in protein are beneficial for both weight loss and weight management. Higher protein intake is associated with increases in energy expenditure, decreases in hunger and improved glycemic response. What is less known is how protein quality of the diet impacts health outcomes. Protein quality is defined by the proportion of essential amino acids a protein contains relative to our body’s needs. Therefore, the quality of protein may also impact the ability of a protein to be beneficial for health. Metabolic health may also be influenced by the time of day protein consumption occurs, specifically the intake of protein at breakfast. Unfortunately, avoidance of breakfast consumption, as a whole, is inversely associated with body mass index. However, increasing protein intake in the morning has been supported as an effective strategy for weight loss by increasing energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and favorably altering appetite signaling. Yet, data is also lacking regarding protein’s adaptive metabolic response to habitual protein intake at breakfast. Therefore the objective of this thesis was to determine if protein quality and quantity consumed at breakfast influenced energy expenditure, appetite, and metabolic health in young females.