Having a hard time understanding why breakfast is the one meal of day that you should not eat toast, bagels, muffins, waffles, pancakes, cereal, biscuits, bread or grits? Here’s why:
When you eat foods that are rich in fiber, fat and protein, it takes quite a while for your body to break them down. So they get absorbed into your bloodstream very slowly. But whenever you eat items made primarily from sugar and other kinds of stripped carbs, your digestive system absorbs the ingredients very quickly. That makes sense when you think about it; the stripping process means that they’ve already been partially broken down before you even eat them. And the faster you absorb food, the more insulin your body has to release to catch the food and escort it to the cells throughout your body. That sets you up for a vicious cycle all day long: first you spike your blood sugars, and then you release a massive amount of insulin, which makes your sugars plummet and sends you hunting for something to spike your sugars, which results in a massive insulin release, and so on.
Think about this: Let’s pretend that you have two cars in your garage. One is a Ford F-150 truck, and the other is a Volkswagen. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that due to atmospheric conditions, gasoline doesn’t work as efficiently in the morning. That’s not really true, of course. I’m just saying it to set up a teaching point. Okay…back to the garage. Now, all things being equal, and assuming that gasoline works inefficiently at daybreak, which vehicle are you going to choose to drive your kids to school tomorrow morning? The Volkswagen, of course! If you want to start your day by conserving your energy, you’re gonna take the Volkswagen.
Does this mean you’re never going to drive the Ford truck? No. But you’re not going to drive it first thing in the morning — you’d just be wasting your gasoline. Most of the time you’ll drive the Volkswagen. Unless you have some really good reason why not. Like you want to impress your kid. Or the Volkswagen is in for a tune-up.
Now, just as it doesn’t make sense to waste the gasoline in this story by driving a gas-guzzler first thing in the day, it doesn’t make sense to waste your insulin by eating rapidly-absorbed food for breakfast. I’m not saying that you can never eat white flour. I am just saying I think it’s a lousy choice for breakfast. In my humble opinion, it’s okay to eat a slice of toast, or a bagel, or pancakes for lunch or dinner (as long as your blood sugars can handle it — diabetics, take note). Or to have a bowl of cereal for dessert after lunch or dinner. But not for breakfast.
Here’s another way to think about it. Eating stripped carbs (white flour, white rice, corn syrup, fruit juice, sugar) first thing in the morning is like hitting a man when he’s already down. Stripped carbs stress out your insulin-production system. Why would you want to stress your insulin-production system first thing in the morning and set yourself up to spike and plummet for the rest of the day? Besides the fact that you’re guaranteed to feel lousy all day, it just does not make sense to start your day by wasting a boatload of insulin. And that’s why it doesn’t make sense to eat stripped carbs for breakfast.
Well then, you might ask, how did stripped carbs come to be known as typical breakfast foods? And that, my friends, is a topic for another day.