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Carbs for Breakfast? BIG Mistake!

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A couple nights ago, I was out with some friends for a dinner. As usually we couldn’t spend a night without talking about the way I eat, and how many eggs a day I eat. Everybody is always surprised, how I am still alive, if for the last 2-3 years I eat about 5-8 eggs a day! A real miracle, I guess! 😉 (read here)

This time everybody was interested in my breakfast of eggs, butter and veggies. I have a lot of friends, who claim they eat healthy and of course they never miss the oats for breakfast. I already shared my opinion about grains here, and today I want to share my opinion about eating carbs for breakfast.

Not that I am always trying to have  the opposite opinion, but it just somehow comes from within! :) With years, you’ve been told how most carbs should be eaten in the morning and the more the day goes by, the less carbs you should eat. Do I agree with that? Obviously, NO!

Let’s first find out what happens with the body in the morning. Cortisol( the stress hormone) rises gradually during the night, until it reaches its peak in the morning. There is the widely spread idea, that cortisol is a catabolic hormone, which means that if you don’t do something to lower its levels, your muscles will break down… and probably disappear! 😉 Truth is that as Wikipedia “says” catabolic, describes the metabolic pathways that break down molecules into smaller units and release energy.

“Cortisol, when acting without elevated insulin levels and in a natural manner — so without being constantly elevated like during chronic stress — triggers the breakdown of triglycerides into free-fatty acids (FFAs) for metabolization and triggers lipolysis. “(here) What does that mean? That in the morning, cortisol actually helps you burn fat!

“Ghrelin, the main hunger-control hormone32, is released in a pulsatile manner through the night with a peak occurring upon waking29-31, which incites hunger. Ghrelin not only causes hunger, but also potently stimulates growth hormone release33-44. As growth hormone levels raise the body releases more fat to be burned as fuel45-49 and decreases the destruction of protein for use as fuel50. Growth hormone levels peak roughly two hours after waking without breakfast51.”

And what happens when you eat carbs? As you know carbs are the most easily used fuel for your body. If you give your body some carbs, it will always prefer to use them for energy! That means, that if you eat a lot of carbs with your breakfast, your body will use them as a source of fuel, and not your fat stores.

Besides that, when you eat carbs, your blood sugar levels rise. Sugar is toxic and it shouldn’t stay long in your blood, that is why it should be drawn out of there and here the savor is insulin. That is exactly what insulin does- it draws the sugar, out of your blood and to the cells. The higher levels of insulin, lead to the feeling of hunger, usually 2-3 hours post meal. And you get into an enchanted circle– you eat carbs, your blood sugar levels rise, insulin rises in order to lower your blood sugar and a couple hours later you feel tired, because your blood sugar is too low and you need some carbs again…

Before I started eating the way I do now, I was one of people eating oatmeal for breakfast. I used to wonder, why I felt hungry, shortly after I ate and why I couldn’t go longer than 2-3 hours without eating something.

Well, after a little more reading and experimenting with my nutrition, I got here- I realized what other people before me found out, even scientifically, but not many trusted them, before trying it personally!

At the beginning I substituted oats for eggs, but I always ate a piece of fruit with them (after all everybody was telling me how I should eat my carbs in the morning). The results were quite the same- I got hungry shortly after I ate and I needed carbs once again. One day I woke up and I substituted the fruit for some veggies… since then I haven’t had anything different for breakfast, than eggs, butter and veggies and now I can go 5-6 hours without getting hungry!

The other thing I notice is that when I eat carbs in the morning, my appetite for carbs increases drastically, i.e. I feel like I need to eat carbs with every meal.

As you already know, I eat a lot of fats and my carbs come mainly from veggies. There are days, when I’d eat more carbs, BUT contrary to popular belief I ALWAYS eat them at night! Why?

First, because when I eat them at night, I do not feel like eating carbs all day long, because I eat them with my last meal and then I go to sleep.

Besides that if you want to dig deeper into the positives of eating carbs at night, my advice is to visit John’s website– the founder of Carbohydrate Backloading. I might not agree with everything he preaches, but I am convinced that eating carbs at night do not interfere with your progress, actually they could help you. So if you are avoiding carbs, better do it for breakfast, not at night! When I am writing all this, I am doing it with the reservation that you are eating real, clean food. I wouldn’t recommend you eat a couple pieces of cake at night. Here you could read  about Julia Ladewski’s experience with eating carbs at night!

My advice is to always have eggs and veggies or meet and veggies for breakfast. Avoid eating fruits and high glycemic foods for breakfast, because they will rise your insulin too much. Try it and you will see that it isn’t hard at all; you will be able to go longer without feeling hungry,because you won’t be under the mercy of all mighty insulin and you will notice the positive effects on your body composition! And last, but not least, your mind won’t be constantly occupied with the thoughts for carbs, forcing you to nervously anticipate your next meal!

And for dessert here is a research with a group of people who eat carbs at night and a group of people who eat them for breakfast. Check out the results they got!

And  here  you could read an interview with John and his opinion about eating carbs at night!

Mmmmmmmmmmm delicious! :)

Do you eat carbs with your breakfast? Have you tried taking them out of your first meal? How did you feel?

***
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  • Philip

    Interesting take on carbs at breakfast. Quick question for you. I often wake up at 4.30am knock back a whey protein shake (40g protein, 1g carbs) and then train whilst sipping on an amino acid/caffeine mix. Would carbs be a good idea for breakfast/post workout (6am) for me. Or would you still suggest staying away from carbs?

    Interested to hear your point of view on this subject

    Thanks

    • Ines Subashka

      Personally I would skip the carbs, just because I eat high fat. low carb diet. But I’ve noticed that carbs after a workout don’t have quite the same influence as those before it. It probably has something to do with the post exercise window. My advice is try not eating carbs, eat a higher fat meal for a week or two and see how that goes, then switch to eating carbs and make the difference between how you felt without carbs and how you feel with eating them! :) Hope that helps!

  • Finra

    I am very very very hungry in the morning and even faster eating brown rice and eggplant with an egg for breakfast I immediately get hungry after like 5 minutes!!!! I really hope eating vegetables and meat instead of carbs would help me feel fuller………

  • Jen

    I gave up breakfast carbs due to high fasting blood sugars – so went lower carb all round. Protein/fat Breakfast specifically leaves me so much clearer headed.

    My favorite breakfast is cottage cheese with 2tbsp olive oil, tbsp each of sunflower & sesame seeds, and a blood sugar lowering/healthful spice blend of turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, red chili flakes (& paprika for added flavor… A heaped tsp of sprices in all) – its really good!

    The other day I wanted to do a home glucose challenge test (to see how well your body sops up blood sugar after a big sugar/carb load). I had oatmeal and pop-tart breakfast. Felt like crap for the rest of the day + headache by afternoon!

    Regarding carbs at night I highly recommend that your readers get a home blood testing kit and test fasting and 2hr post meal glucose. Everyones different, but Nighttime carbs are esp bad for my fasting blood glucose, and that is a key indicator for prediabetes. I wish someone had told me to check blood glucose long ago, as it can start to go awry years before diabetes or Pre-diabetes shows up. So as you experiment with diet, include that in the equation; as you said sugar is highly toxic when left in the bloodstream. Google jenny ruhl’s website for great info on normal blood glucose and how to go about testing.

  • Maria

    Ines it’s an interesting point of view but I do disagree because in most cases what we eat depends on our health condition aka everyone is unique. Example: you generally tell people not to eat broccoli or cabbage and yet certain health conditions require a large consumption of both. And quoting Wikipedia doesn’t sound legit. I came across other things I disagree with but I like the blog, good work :)

  • http://None Tyler

    Question- why is it good to only eat every 5 or 6 hours? You said eating carbs you are hungry 2-3 hours later. I think eating frequent small meals is a very healthy way to go.

    On the fence about when to eat carbs. Did back loading for a while. It’s definitely better for energy levels.

    • jose carlos

      man eating 3 x 3 hours is a myth please update your concepts.

  • John den Haan

    Interesting post. I’d liek to share one thought though

    Eggs contain the amino acid leucine, which also triggers a moderate insulin release. This is partly mediated by the high fat content of the yolk (another reason to eat the WHOLE EGG) which slows down its absorption, but be aware of it. If anything, I’d suggest adding another fatty source of protein to the eggs to further slow down absorption and mediate the insulin release. BACON (yes BACON) or some smoked salmon should do the trick.

  • WhatEvery1Thinks

    Too long and dragged on, people come here wanting quick information not to read your life story, no offense just telling it how it is.

  • depie81

    Hi, Great post.. How many eggs would you advise? I whey 84 kg, and should wait a few hours before eating the breakfast to burn more abdominal fat? So take eggs and veggies with me to work?
    Thanks :-)

    • Ines Subashka

      I am not sure from your nickname, but I guess you are a woman, right? It depends on how many times a day you eat. If you eat three times a day and if you train at least 3 times a week, I’d say 3 eggs + veggies or some berries would keep you full and energetic :)

  • JuJu Beez

    I am totally going to give this a try, I currently eat only fruits in the morning which usually keeps me full for awhile. What veggies do you typically eat with your eggs? Is that avocado I see? I think avocado is classified as a fruit/berry.

  • Big Dave

    I saute sliced spring onions, red and yellow peppers, and broccoli and make an omelet or fold the veggies into scrambled eggs. Organic turkey bacon, espresso with heavy cream, and two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil. ONLY, as a treat every so often, I will eat some blueberries in cream sweetened with Stevia. Other than the occasional blueberries, I avoid ALL fruits and juices for breakfast. Avoid all fruit juices for the rest of your life if you are older and or insulin resistant. If you have to cheat, take the fruit juice later in the day WITH a meal. Dilute the juice up to 50% with water. Add a lot of ice too. Do this VERY rarely. I do this once in a blue moon and enjoy some fresh squeased OJ this way. I really do not miss fruit juices. They play HELL on your blood sugar.

    I will almost always have blue berries for desert for DINNER. I strive for a zero carb breakfast. The veggies add maybe 5-10 grams of carbs. Sometimes I skip the veggies altogether to get a true zero carb breakfast. I do eat organic steel cut oats occasionally…with cream very late in the day. My other late in the day carb is organic jasmine brown rice…mmmm. The stuff grown in Texas is as good as the hard to find organic rice from Thailand. I have both at home.

    If you eat a zero carb breakfast do not forget to include FAT. Your body will burn fat for energy just like it will burn carbs. This process is best done when eating ultra low or zero carb meals. Blood sugar and energy levels remain darn good until your next meal. Feeling hunger? Eat a handful of a nut mix: Organic almonds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. I roast them in a little organic toasted sesame oil. There are healthier oils but NONE taste as good as toasted sesame oil.

    My oils are: Organic Virgin coconut oil, Fish oil, Organic almond oil, Organic avocado oil, and small amounts of Japanese toasted sesame oil. Make sure the sesame oil says “Toasted” on the lable. That is where all the flavor comes from. Best oil for stir fry!

  • Seton

    Very interesting read. I believe everyone is different. Some people can get by with high carb and low fats for breakfast and vice-versa. Will definitely be giving this approach a go.

    http://www.flexileanfitness.com

  • Reemslaw

    There is a simple simple reason for your experience.

    1. Fats and protein are more satiating than carbohydrates, so they will keep you fuller for longer than just a carb meal. The protein and fat meal will spike insulin the same way as carbs, but as it naturally takes longer to digest, your blood sugar levels out slowly, rather than just crashing after the insulin does its job.

  • Adam Read

    Tried removing seeded wholemeal toast from my avocado and tuna breakfast today, substituting it for scrambled eggs cooked with butter. That was an hour ago and I’m absolutely starving already! Also feel pretty light-headed. Normally I can go 3 hours or so without thinking about food. Does it take some time to adjust to the no-carb breakfast?

    • Ines Subashka

      Hello, Adam. It surely takes some time. But try with boiled eggs, or at least omelette. Because scrambled eggs are faster to absorb from the body, because of the way the protein is cooked. And how many eggs did you eat? Try adding some veggies and you might add a piece of fruit and let me know how you feel.

      Ines

      • Adam Read

        That’s great, thanks Ines! It was just 2 eggs as I have another 2 (boiled) with lunch. What you said makes sense though :-) Thanks again.

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