Eric Falstrault PICP 5, TSC, Nd
Mathieu Bouchard, Nd, CFMP
Breakfast time is seen as the most important meal of the day and for good reasons. The first thing you eat in the morning has been known to have a huge impact on the rest of your day, your productivity and has a great influence on your body composition.
Every single time I ask a new client how is their breakfast, the answer is 99% of the time “Heathy”, so they say. However, it might not be their fault. In reality, it is not what we were led to believe. The modern breakfast consists of cereal products, fruit juices, ”pseudo Healthy ‘ low fat spread, toast and coffee. Most of us know very well that this kind of breakfast is not what it should be, but simply an adaptation of false studies, beliefs and lobbying by food industry, an adaptation that fits our daily stress and lack of time in the morning. Food is the first line of defense to support the proper functioning of the human body, it is not surprising that conditions directly related to nutrition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension have reached skyrocketing levels. More meds and/or development of new drugs do not address the root of the problems, which are often nutritional habits.
So what is the problem with the oh so popular toast and coffee or fruit and yogurt?
First, hormonally speaking, breakfast should not be bombarded with carbohydrates. A high glycemic load, such a high a carbohydrate breakfast, will require a greater insulin response. The problem is that high morning cortisol (which is how it should be) may interfere with the production of insulin.
Several studies have shown that a low protein intake at breakfast will be less satiating and often followed by a rapid increase in appetite when compared with a high protein breakfast. These studies use about 40% of protein ratio for the meal high in protein, which sounds like a lot if we compare it to a breakfast like a bagel with peanut butter, which contains about 16% protein .
However, a meal with 40% of its calories coming from protein is easily attainable with eggs , meat , nuts and a good protein powder . We also know that a breakfast containing a low glycemic index promotes a better cognitive performance. So a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a big bowl of captain crunch is the total opposite of the goal here.
Low fat dairy products have a glycemic and insulin response significantly higher than their written sugar content. For their part, the majority of multi-grain cereals offered in supermarkets are far from nutrient rich, even with the added fiber, vitamins and minerals. Their sugar content is much higher than they claim, which do not make them a great alternative to low glycemic index and / or high protein supplement for breakfast.
So, a great breakfast will influence several aspects of your day, such as better work performance, more energy during your workouts, your mood ,and quality time with your children after a hard day of work. Just the simple fact of having a nutrient dense breakfast instead of the sugar boosted one will help you improve your body composition without great struggle. Several studies prove it.
There is a great debate about the best method to lose fat, workout on an empty stomach in the morning or after a good breakfast? Here is one for fans of fasted cardio.
Two groups of young men were tested by measuring their oxygen consumption rate (VO2) and respiratory quotient (RQ) post-workout (cardio training at 65% MHR) with breakfast and fasting. Each group had the same quantity and quality of food for the next 24 hours. The breakfast group had the largest increase in VO2 and QR, indicating greater fat oxidation and there was a significant difference between the two groups in the 24 hours following exercise. The author concluded that to train on an empty stomach does not increase fat oxidation, but a light meal before training will maximize your results.
Motivation influences much of our day. We are frequently asked how to improve people’s motivation, whether for training, cheating (food wise), etc. Believe it or not, your breakfast has a lot to do with it when it is time to kick ass. Researchers from The University of Missouri have examined the benefits of a high protein breakfast on obese young girls or overweight in late adolescences. They studied the hormonal and neural effects of a high protein breakfast on appetite during the day, satiety, motivation and the need to reward themselves with food. The first group had lunch with lunch 350 kcal, cereal (13 grams of protein) and a second group with the same number of Kcal but consists of eggs and beef. After only six days, they concluded that only the group with high protein breakfast had a significant (positive) difference in satiety and greater motivation.
Now, what should be the best options for a decent breakfast knowing all we know now? Keep in mind that a great breakfast should allow you to burn fat, ensure optimal mental acuity and an ideal blood sugar throughout the day. A breakfast rich in nutrients, such as a source of animal protein or eggs , a small serving of fruit ( such as berries or grapes ) and a small amount of nuts will assure you the best results. It goes without saying that the quality of the meat should an organic source and free-range. It is essential to avoid sources of processed meats like luncheon meats ( deli ), which are a major source of nitrate and also what they can’t use with regular cuts of meat, such as cartilage , tendons, fat, etc. It is for this reason that they write down 15% protein on the packaging of what looks like a big ball of meat…
Here are some examples of breakfast:
1. Patties of minced meat, handful of pine nuts, 1 cup raspberries
2. 1-2 eggs over easy on steak of choices, chopped spinach, almonds
3. Scrambled eggs with spinach, avocado, tomatoes, some macadamia nuts
4. 3 eggs over easy on sliced chicken breast with blackberries and Brazil nuts.
5. Omelet with cheddar (non-pasteurized milk), and asparagus with blueberry and cashews
6. Protein powder, eggs and coconut flour (pancake style) with almond butter.
7. A portion of plain Greek yogurt 2% or more, with fruits, 1 egg and a serving of veggies.
Of course, your breakfast is not your entire diet, however it is probably the most misunderstood meal of the day. The human body is designed to eat in the morning and especially to eat nutritious foods that will not adversely affect its performance. As you can see by our recipe ideas, there are several good ways to start your day. Kids could do it as well but remember that they could eat more nutrient dense carbohydrates since their insulin resistance is not as bad as a fully-grown carb-addicted adult. These breakfasts are not the only options out there. Everyone is different and should approach their nutritional choices according to their needs and conditions, so pick a qualified person to guide you properly.
1 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cortisol-14668 Effects of morning cortisol elevation on insulin secretion and glucose regulation in humans.Plat L, Byrne MM, Sturis J, Polonsky KS, Mockel J, Féry F, Van CauterE.Am J Physiol. 1996 Jan;270(1 Pt 1):E36-42.PMID:8772471[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
2 Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,”late-adolescent girls. Am J ClinNutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):677-88. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116. Epub 2013 Feb 27. PubMed PMID: 23446906; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3718776.
3 Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. NutrMetab (Lond). 2014 Nov 19;11(1):53. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25489333; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4258944.
4 van der Klaauw AA, Keogh JM, Henning E, Trowse VM, Dhillo WS, GhateiMA,Farooqi IS. High protein intake stimulates postprandial GLP1 and PYY release.Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Aug;21(8):1602-7. doi: 10.1002/oby.20154. Epub 2013 May 13. PubMed PMID: 23666746.
5 Cooper SB, Bandelow S, Nute ML, Morris JG, Nevill ME. Breakfast glycaemic index and cognitive function in adolescent school children. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107(12):1823-32. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005022. Epub 2011 Sep 29. PubMed PMID: 22017815.
6 Micha R, Rogers PJ, Nelson M. Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of breakfast predict cognitive function and mood in school children: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2011 Nov;106(10):1552-61. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511002303. Epub 2011 Jun 8. PubMed PMID: 21736777.
7 Mikael Nilsson, Marianne Stenberg, Anders H Frid, Jens J Holst, and Inger ME BjörckGlycemia and insulinemia in healthy subjects after lactose-equivalent meals of milk and other food proteins: the role of plasma amino acids and incretinsAm J ClinNutr November 2004 vol. 80 no. 5 1246-1253
8 Use of waist circumference to predict insulin resistance: retrospective studyBMJ 2005;330:1363 Paoli A, Marcolin G, Zonin F, Neri M, Sivieri A, Pacelli QF. Exercisingfasting or fed to enhance fat loss? Influence of food intake on respiratory ratioand excess postexercise oxygen consumption after a bout of endurance training. Int J Sport NutrExercMetab. 2011 Feb;21(1):48-54. PubMed PMID: 21411835.
9 Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, Annino G, Guglielmi V, D’Adamo M, IellamoF,Sbraccia P. Morning meal more efficient for fat loss in a 3-month lifestyleintervention. J Am CollNutr. 2014;33(3):198-205. doi:10.1080/07315724.2013.863169. Epub 2014 May 8. PubMed PMID: 24809437.
Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of ahigher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signalscontrolling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,”late-adolescent girls. Am J ClinNutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):677-88. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116. Epub 2013 Feb 27. PubMed PMID: 23446906; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3718776.