While my clients initially come to me for exercise programs and fitness-related advice, I always get asked this question after the first couple of training sessions: What should I eat for breakfast? It's a good one. According to a recent study published in the Public Health Journal, poor breakfast habits beginning in early childhood can lead to metabolic syndrome later in life. Metabolic syndrome can lead to a myriad of health problems; the most prevalent being obesity and/or Type 2 Diabetes. With America in the midst of battling an obesity epidemic, it's important that we start the day off with the right foods to get our system operating most efficiently.
But why the confusion? Isn't it obvious what we should eat? Actually, not so much. For the past 50 years (minimum), sugar-loaded breakfast cereals, juices and fruits have been advertised as the right way to do breakfast every morning. The problem with eating these types of foods to start off the day (or really, at any time) is simple: our blood sugars initially go through the roof, so we crash and get that 2 o'clock feeling, crave more sugar as a result, and thus the cycle repeats itself until we go to bed at night. Ultimately, the vast excess carb stores that we didn't utilize for bodily functions and energy get stored as fat. Also, because of this daily influx of sugar, we leave our bodies susceptible to insulin-resistance, which over time can result in Type 2 Diabetes.
So what should we do for breakfast? First, let's start off with the line you should always remember when making healthy food choices: Eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. The key words in that sentence: NO SUGAR. This doesn't mean you can't have vegetables and some fruit; just keep them low-glycemic so your blood sugars don't go way out of wack.
Always have a bowl of Fruit Loops while you watch the morning news? How about a glass of OJ and a banana when you're running late? Neither are good ideas. While I can't tell you exactly what YOU should eat, here's a sample of what I eat every morning:
Scrambled Eggs - 3 eggs, 3 egg-whites, cooked with green peppers
Whey/Casein Protein Shake with Blueberries and Strawberries
When I describe my breakfast to my clients, this is the question I'm always asked: Aren't all of those eggs on a daily basis bad for your cholesterol? My answer: Not at all.
There are two health myths that we've been taught since childhood:
1) The macronutrient fat will make you fat, and thus it's bad for you, and
2) Foods high in cholesterol make you more susceptible to heart disease
This may sound bold and contrary to popular belief, but the answer to both questions is a resounding NO. Here's why:
1) Fat is a vital macronutrient that we need to ingest on a regular basis. While nuts and seeds are very high in fat, there are recent studies showing that individuals who ingest nuts on a daily basis are less susceptible to heart disease and early death. Fat is crucial to cognitive development and joint mobility, and unless it's trans-fat you're ingesting (put down the donut!), you should feel OK when eating saturated or unsaturated fats.
2) While common sense may indicate 'if I eat more cholesterol (like in eggs), I'll raise my cholesterol levels,' this isn't necessarily the case. Moreover, there are many studies out there showing that high cholesterol doesn't necessarily correlate to higher incidence of heart attack and/or disease. In fact, there are many studies showing quite the opposite; folks with lower cholesterol levels tend to have just as high an incidence of heart-related deaths as high cholesterol levels. Some even show a higher correlation of lower cholesterol levels leading to heart disease. The takeaway: eggs are OK.
Eggs are a superfood high in fat and protein. If you've read any of my earlier articles on nutrition, you know I'm a big fan of making these your primary macronutrients, thus making carbs tertiary, only to be ingested in the form of vegetables and low-glycemic fruit (like blueberries and strawberries).
Today's Point: Eat a breakfast similar to mine, and you'll be OK.
Coach Pete STRUGGLED with his weight for most of his life, and knows how difficult it is to discern fact from fiction when it comes to healthy, sustainable lifestyle habits.
Through his quest of losing 100 lbs. FOR GOOD, he’s figured these elusive principles out, and wants to save you both the time and the money on figuring it out for yourself.
At Weight Loss by Pete, we’ll not only help you get to your short-term health and weight loss goals, but we’ll TEACH you how to keep that weight off, PERMANENTLY!