Recently I applied for a job with a local store. It was interesting, but while “Nutrition” was in the store name, it was more about supplements than food, so I decided it wasn’t the best fit for me. One interesting thing they do, though, is run every customer through an ideal meal plan. The manager did one for me, and I noticed something very interesting about his breakfast recommendations: lots of protein, and maybe healthy fats (for those who worked out later in the day). No carbs, at all. Tell me, how many people do you know that don’t have ANY carbs for breakfast? I am betting not many of us do.
So this got me thinking about breakfast, and interested in the why of their recommendation, so I figured I would investigate and share what I learn with you!
First off, let’s look at why eating breakfast is so important. Believe it or not, eating breakfast has been found to be essential for losing weight! Yes, eating an additional meal will help you lose or maintain your weight.
Why? Because eating within an hour of waking up can:
Jumpstart your metabolism
Assure your body that calories are available (so it doesn’t go into starvation mode)
Promote better performance at work or school
Offer an additional chance for eating valuable nutrients
So, research shows more and more that eating breakfast is very beneficial. But why a no-carb breakfast?
First of all, let me say that this is a topic that is still debated within nutrition circles. Some believe, as we as a society obviously have come to believe, that carbs in the morning are a good choice. This is partly because we are more insulin dependent in the morning, so our bodies CAN handle carbs better.
However, many professionals are starting to argue that just because we can doesn’t mean we should eat carbs first thing. Their reasons have to do with our natural hormone production cycle (such as insulin, and ghrelin which I discuss here). Basically, we are in more of a fat-burning mode first thing in the morning, meaning our bodies are using our fat stores for energy. Since carbs are the preferred energy fuel source, once we eat some our bodies will begin using those carbs instead of continuing in fat-burning mode. Seems like a good argument there!
Another reason is that carbs raise our blood sugar (even if we are more insulin sensitive, a bowl of cereal, glass of OJ, and sweetened coffee is going to raise your blood sugar). This starts a process of spiking and crashing blood sugar which will leave you feeling poorly, unable to concentrate as well, and more likely to snack to try and maintain blood sugar levels.
Again, this is something that is still being debated, but it has me curious enough to see how I feel on a protein and veggie breakfast! I do think that dropping, or at least reducing the amount of carbs eaten in the morning could do us some good. Willing to give it a try?