Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? It must be, because just about every nutritional expert on the planet emphatically endorses the “morning meal” philosophy.
Their love affair with breakfast makes a lot of sense—at first glance. But before we blindly buy into their theory, let’s investigate why most “gurus” orgasm at the mere thought of a healthy breakfast.
Here are their claims, followed by my opinions:
1) After an eight-hour sleep, you need to ingest protein in order to raise your serum amino acid levels, thus switching you from a catabolic state to an anabolic state.
This point sure does seem valid. And because of it, there was a time when I never went a day without consuming a relatively large amount of protein upon awakening.
Additionally, if one of my clients even considered skipping breakfast, I would quickly transform into the breakfast police and give them hell about it. But in recent years my opinion has changed. And it has only changed due to exhaustive trial and error.
For, like an obsessive scientist, I have constantly experimented with countless nutritional tests. And believe me, cutting out breakfast was just one of them!
You might be surprised to learn that since I’ve cut out my morning meal, I have not suffered any muscle loss or decrease in my recovery abilities. How can this be? Well, I have some theories.
a) Who’s to say that 8 hours is the optimal time to fast without protein? Thousands of years ago, humans did not eat protein all day long.
Instead, they would eat protein at dinnertime—assuming they were lucky enough to have a successful hunt that day. Granted they were not walking around looking like Jay Cutler, but many of then certainly did look like athletic and muscular MMA fighters. This proves that the almost universally accepted view on protein intake is simply untrue.
In fact, if it were true, we would all benefit from waking up several times in the middle of the night to slam a protein shake.
Please don’t try this! I am embarrassed to admit that I already tried it a long time ago; all I got out of it was poor sleep, compromised recovery and a pissed off girlfriend.
b) Utilizing longer periods of fasting rests your entire digestive system. Perhaps by lessening your digestive stress, your ability to efficiently digest and absorb nutrients improves.
This would lead to better absorption of the protein you do eat.
Thus, a lesser total daily amount would be necessary. This would be the best of all worlds; you would save money, reduce digestive stress and improve health.
2) You must eat complex carbs to stabilize blood sugar levels.
The hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) patrol sure does force this belief down everyone’s throat. Since this theory has become gospel, thousands of people have “experienced” symptoms of hypoglycemia.
The symptoms are often not due to low blood sugar but instead, are psychosomatic.
I have had many clients over the years claim to suffer from hypoglycemia. Then, after I sent them for blood work, their fasting blood glucose levels came back perfect.
In other words, it was all in their heads. Amazingly, once they knew their glucose levels were stable, their symptoms went away. The lesson here is, don’t believe everything you hear or read. Instead, test it yourself and find out the real truth.
3) Eating breakfast prevents you from feeling hungry later in the morning, thus reducing food cravings and binging.
This point does have some research to back it up. Studies have shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to binge on junk foods later in the day.
These studies are not funded by an organization with ulterior motives and because of that, they are not skewed. But these findings don’t apply to everyone.
You see, people who eat a healthy breakfast are typically more health conscious than those who don’t. So the breakfast-eating subjects are just less likely to binge eat anyway.
In fact, if you took a subject from the “skip breakfast” group and made them eat breakfast, they would probably still eat junk food later in the day. I know this from experience.
That being said, skipping breakfast does take some getting used to. If you decide to try it, you must:
a) Give it a few days. Initially, you may experience some hunger (especially if you always had eaten breakfast). This will subside once your body adjusts to a longer period of fasting.
b) Drink a lot of water during the morning hours. This does help to curb hunger, but even better, it allows for super hydration. This is a very healthy state to be in.
4) Eating breakfast increases your energy levels and mental clarity.
This is yet another blood sugar (glucose) point. Yes, glucose is a source of fuel. However, more is not better. You see, stable glucose levels are best for consistent and sustainable energy levels and mental clarity.
It turns out, interestingly enough, that the most stable your blood sugar will ever be is after a short term fast. This is exactly why your doctor will tell you to fast before doing blood work. So contrary to popular belief, your energy levels and ability to concentrate will be far better by extending your fast into the afternoon.
5) Eating breakfast stimulates your metabolism.
This point is so widely accepted because of the phenomenon known as the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).
TEF is the energy expenditure caused by the digestion and processing of the food you eat. In other words, the act of digesting food burns calories (energy). So the breakfast advocates want this process to begin the first thing in the morning.
The truth is that this metabolic boost is very insignificant and won’t have any noticeable effect. If you want to really boost your metabolism, lift heavy and sprint.
Lunch is the new breakfast. Break the rules. Try this today, and feel and look your best!
Dedicated to your success,