Breakfast has been demonised over the last few years as the wave of low carb, keto and fasting popularity peaked. It made sense to continue a fast past breakfast since you had slept through the majority of your fast already. But there are issues with this theory, which wasn’t based on a balanced review of the science.
So I am bringing back breakfast. Breakfast is the new fasting! I am going to explain why I am encouraging you to eat breakfast and the science behind it. Breakfast is the new fasting for weight loss, healthy hormones, insulin sensitivity, metabolic health and much more!
I have been coaching for years, that women especially, should eat their main meal early in the day, eat lighter in the afternoon and something very light in the evening.
This is based on solid science which I will go into below.
The problem with many of the studies done on fasting is that they are done on men, so the effect on women’s unique physiology is unknown. Many women come to me for private coaching with a whole host of issues that I can directly link to their fasting habits.
Fasting is addictive
I am one of the main cheerleaders for the sugar addicts out there. So much so that I am even working on a new program Sugar Sober Club that will treat sugar addiction like alcohol, drugs, gambling or any other addiction. I have a burning desire and determination to bring this serious issue to the public because it’s just as damaging long term and just as destructive to the person both physically and mentally.
But did you know that Fasting is addictive too? Yep, it is. Just like sugar, drugs or any other type of addiction, fasting triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine, the happy hormones.
When you fast, your body increases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Then human growth hormone is released as well and altogether these hormones serve to make you feel more alert, stronger and like you can take over the world.
The downside is that this feeling can be addictive. We can crave the feeling of achievement that fasting gives us, almost like a superpower. The powerful combination of hormones create an all around good feeling. Fasting is supposed to do that. Given the detrimental effect on health if we don’t fast right for your bodies, you can see how breakfast is the new fasting!
It’s a response to “starvation”
If you felt lethargic and lazy when you skipped meals, you wouldn’t be able to go “hunt for your next meal”. Humans would have died out eons ago! You feel like a superhuman so that you have the motivation to go hunt down your next meal.
The Science Doesn’t Agree with Skipping Breakfast
Here is where we are going to dive into the science of breakfast. You can read the study by clicking here but I am going to break it down into easy to digest (see what I did there?) points to take home. It’s my mission to help everyone I can to lose their excess weight and gain health and happiness.
Not being hungry at breakfast time can be a sign of high stress hormones because stress hormones lower appetite. If you decide to skip breakfast, your body has to make ketones (if you are low carb) and that requires more stress hormones like cortisol plus a requirement for thyroid hormones.
Add to that, your cup of black coffee on an empty stomach elevates stress hormones higher again and puts pressure on your thyroid. So actually, your fast can actually be causing more damage than the potential benefits.
The Case For Breakfast
There are many studies that show the hormonal benefits of having breakfast but what about the other benefits of having your main meal early in the day? We know that our circadian rhythm (the 24 hour cycle of hormones and bodily processes) can easily be disrupted by heat, light and screen time. But our circadian rhythm also tells us when is the best time to eat. Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to eating early in the day.
Why Breakfast is the new Fasting
So why should you eat your main meal early in the day? In the Protein Priority Diet we eat what we call the Protein Priority Meal. This means that you eat a minimum amount of protein for your first meal. This takes advantage of the fact that protein raises metabolism but not only that. Thinking about breakfast as the new fasting we get more benefits.
Raise Your Metabolism
The Thermic Effect of Food (increase in metabolism after you eat) is 2.5 times higher in the morning so you burn more calories. Not just from protein but from all the macros. Prioritise protein in your first early meal to raise your metabolism even higher. Imagine that, simply by eating your main meal for breakfast, you burn more calories and your metabolism increases. That is my kind of shortcut!
Eat Less Calories Overall
Eating your biggest meal early in the day means you will eat less overall later in the day. When you prioritise protein and eat your main meal for breakfast, you are more satisfied and will eat less later in the day.
Eat protein first, some whole food carbs and some fat. If you are a lifetime dieter you will gain weight initially as your body recovers from chronic protein deprivation but it will level off and you will start to lose weight again.
Fix Your Dieting Damage
If you find that a large early meal stimulates your appetite and you want to keep eating all day then this is a red flag. It means that you have probably been chronically under eating for quite some time. To get past this, you have to let yourself eat.
Store Less Fat
If you eat the same meal in the morning and in the evening, you release more insulin when you eat in the evening than when you eat in the morning even when the food is exactly the same. So knowing that, why not eat your main meal earlier and store less of the calories you eat! Win win.
Lose More Weight
One study showed that women who eat their main meals early in the day and fast in the evening, lose more weight than those who don’t. Do I need to explain more?!
Take advantage of your body’s natural cycle
- Eat your main meal for breakfast
- If you have thyroid problems or high stress hormones, eat within 60 minutes of waking up
- Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach
- Prioritise Protein in your first meal
- Eat more carbs at breakfast. This will help to lower stress hormones and replenish liver glycogen. Regardless of how many carbs you eat in a day eat the majority for breakfast
- Join the Protein Priority Diet and see how to optimise your entire diet for weight loss