Why Breakfast is Your Most Important Meal and What Most People Get Wrong
If you’re a client and you’re reading this, you know one of the first questions I ask is: When and how do you break your fast. Breakfast stands for breaking the overnight fast, it really has nothing to do with the time you’re eating, it's what you're eating. I encourage all my clients to break their fast before 11am. Ideally before 10am for most people.
So why is it so important? Your first meal will predict the whole day’s blood sugar response curve. It will actually dictate your energy levels, cravings and crashes. By eating too many quick carbs, not enough food, the wrong foods, or skipping it all together, the body will have to do a lot of work when blood sugar starts to drop off - hello stress hormones. If you’re waiting til noon or 1pm to eat, you may find you overeat in the evening or you feel out of control. When our blood sugar is rocky, the body has actual mechanisms in place to help correct it. There's a host of different hormones, such as cortisol - a key stress hormone that is associated with both stress and fat storage - that work together to correct this. If we rely on this long-term it can result in burn out, weight gain, brain fog, chromic inflammation, hormonal imbalances, gut issues, and more.
There is so much evidence showing our whole day’s energy production is based on the first meal. The first meal will dictate our energy levels, future cravings, and more. If we are not eating enough food, our body perceives a state of starvation and ultimately lowers our metabolism.
Several studies have found that breakfast determines the circadian rhythm of fat, our liver, and intestinal tissues. These tissues monitor metabolism, and the breakdown of fat and glucose for energy production. Here are some studies to prove it: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07420528.2011.622599; https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/31/1/1/2354749 How to Break-the-Fast
Many of us love a big bowl of oatmeal, toast, or some gluten free sweet potato pancakes for breakfast, but if we’re just having that with nothing else, our body expects to be buried in starch/carbs all day, making us resistant to both starch and insulin. Not good. Insulin, is a fat storage hormone. We want to be insulin sensitive, not resistant. The two most important macronutrients when building breakfast are protein & fat. Protein is actually the most important here. Ideally, your breakfast should have between 20-30g of protein with few good carbs and 1-2 tbsp of fat.
If you’re feeling super motivated, the ideal breakfast would include protein, alkalizing veggies, fiber and fat. Try my NTG Green Vanilla Thrilla - this checks all the boxes. Breakfast ideas (these can all be made a head of time): NTG Green Vanilla Thrilla
Why Only a Few Carbs?
From a circadian rhythm standpoint, carbs actually lower the production of cortisol. We want cortisol higher in the morning, it’s what helps us get out of bed and when in its proper rhythm, is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone. I like to enjoy my carbs later in the day.
What About Fasting?
Yes, I believe in fasting and pushing breakfast til noon or even 1pm some days. After a late night out with too much booze and treats, it can help mitigate hormonal responses, but not everyday. Many people who save the majority of their calories for the afternoon/evening not only overeat, but also have impaired digestion. Reverse fasting is my preferred type of fasting. This type of fast means you start your fast earlier in the day. Think an earlier dinner around 6/6:30 pm and breaking the fast around 9/10am.