So, breakfast….. cereal, toast, smoothies, eggs, meat, coffee, danish, yoghurt, fruit. Everyone has something, and allegedly the most important meal of the day.
To set you up for the day?!
OK, let’s throw some spanners in the works and offer an alternative.
How about increasing your energy further, making your mind and senses a lot more altert and “switched on”, whilst your body starts burning more fat…………..all by NOT eating breakfast?!
If we look at the word, breakfast, it’s mean’t to mean “Breaking the fast” – however in fasting terminology (and fasting that works, not just choosing to skip a meal and then eat a pizza later!) 8-12 hours, possibly what most people have between their last meal, sleep and waking is not enough to give any real benefits that can come from “proper” integrated fasting.
Equally what many people choose for breakfast, could be doing more harm than good to the hormones and functions of the body such as insulin, blood sugar levels and other hormones which can benefit from structure fasting.
The “act” of eating, digestion and processing of food and nutrients around the body is a big energy demand on the body. By this I don’t mean it burns a lot of calories to carry out these jobs, I mean it takes a lot of metabolic and hormonal work to carry this out. With the body tied up in the act of this process it’s literally going to put other functions such as fat burning, cellular and tissue repair, toxin removal onto the back burner.
Whilst eating little and often throughout the day can work for some people, the above should be considered if your trying to improve your health and drop fat – don’t over burden your body and your liver (which will process everything you eat/drink into a format your body can use. More of a reason to eat naturally – the further the food you eat is away from it’s natural source the harder the liver has to work to convert it!)
The main point I want to make however, with regard to leaving “breakfast” or food until later morning is this;
Cortisol is a natural stress hormone in the body produced via the adrenal glands. Whilst too much cortisol can have bad effects on the body and health, we need small amounts of it to act as an anti-inflammatory in the body, but when our bodies function correctly it helps us fall asleep and wake up naturally.
Cortisol levels should rise and fall gradually during the day. They start to rise early morning, gradually rising around 6am to wake us up, and continue to rise gradually until around 11am/midday, and from here they start to drop off throughout the day, into the evening when they are the lowest, and hopefully allowing us to sleep. You’ve probably noticed how you are more relaxed in an evening, and this isn’t due to not being at work! Anyone that has felt tired, gone to bed, but found themselves lying there for a few hours have imbalanced their cortisol/stress levels, and should look to address actions that are causing worry or stress, especially if this happens regularly.
So, back to breakfast and cortisol! If you’re levels are functioning normally and you wake up, your levels are still quite high, and asI posted in this post, it’s not great for the body to eat when stressed. Blood flow has been moved away from non essential organs such as the digestive area, and moved to those that are needed; legs, and brain (think back to caveman days, and fight or flight where adrenaline and cortisol are elevated…. it’s time to attack or run, not sit down and eat a meal, hence blood flow is directed away from the stomach meaning digestion will be even harder)
But if you were to leave food until 11am’ish or around 17hours since you last ate, your cortisol levels will be a lot lower and digestion/nutrient pathways a lot easier. You’ll have also completed a “proper” fast, drinking just fluids, meaning blood sugar levels will have balanced, energy will be up and glucagon levels will be elevated (a hormone in opposition to insulin which actually promotes fat burning) You then just need to eat something which is balanced with protein, fibrous carbs and some good fats to keep the body working efficiently as opposed to something processed and sugary which will undo all the good work, and probably leave you lethargic!
Yes it can be hard initially, as most things are you try for the first few times. Just stay away from people eating, and food as a temptation. So long as you’re busy you’ll find yourself a lot more focussed to work and jobs at hand.
If you want to read more on fasting, a nice easy read is “Eat, Stop, Eat” by Brad Pilon.
All I’d say is don’t go with the flow, the marketing, the routine that breakfast is something you must do upon waking and before work. Give it a try, plan the meal you’ll eat after the fast, and experience the energy highs, additional fat loss and health that can come from balancing out certain hormones in your body and working with them.