Do you ever find that eating breakfast makes you hungry? You think you have started your day off right, sitting down to a nutritious breakfast and refuelling after you’ve slept, then 30 minutes later you’re hungry again! You are not alone.
Most of you are still being told you must not skip breakfast- “gets your metabolism going” they say, “gets the calories burning” they say.
Skipping breakfast is the way to go- another name for this is intermittent fasting. You will burn fat, stop hunger cravings and staying slim isn’t usually a problem. I will not say skipping breakfast is the way forward for everyone, but periods of fasting are something that has been used by all the forefathers of modern medicine for hundreds of years across the globe and there is now research to back it.
The thing about eating in the morning is that it coincides with your circadian rhythm – the time of day in the AM, when your Cortisol rises and reaches its peak. It is this circadian Cortisol peak which has an impact on your insulin secretions, such that when you eat during this time, it leads to a rapid and large insulin release and a corresponding rapid drop in blood sugar levels, more so than when you eat at other times of the day.
If you are healthy, your blood sugar levels wont drop to a dangerously low level- such as can occur with hypoglycaemia and those of you boot scooting around the lines of Insulin resistance. Many Australians aren’t even aware they are boarder line diabetic to start with – for every diabetic in Australia, there is one undiagnosed. These midmorning, hormonally induced, blood sugar lows can drop your blood sugars low enough to induce hunger- in some cases, lightheaded enough to feel as though you may pass out and if you are in fact an undiagnosed type 2 diabetic, chances are- you may.
A far more interesting reason, as to why we should totally skip breakfast
Back in the day, I’m talking back when only 3 or 4 million Homo sapiens shared the planet, around 1.2 Million years when Homo Erectus had developed the Achilles tendon to become “erectus” and start to nomadically roam the planet in search of food, we would wake with our circadian rhythm- as our body still likes to, leave the cave and head out to hunt and gather our food. This morning hunt could take up to 6 hours or until midday in some cases. Upon return, we would then eat that carcass we just hunted down- hunted using our legs heart and stamina mind you- not a gun, we would eat this first class meat protein with all its hormone free, grass fed & delicious calorie dense saturated animal fat with any nuts, seeds or foliage (greens) we may have come across.
I’m pretty sure there is no documented evidence of our ancestors returning back to the cave with a loaf of wonder white over their shoulder. We are talking about 2 million years ago- man didn’t get industrious and begin to eat grains until approximately 12,000 years ago- given the history of mankind, relatively, 12000 years- is not very long. Our Species – Homo sapien, has been on the planet for hundreds of thousands of years prior to that, and depending on what books you are reading, some say further back- but I not confuse science with esotericism.
These days, most of us wake up, that early morning hunt and gather may be defined as a jog or cycle class and sit back down again at our desks. We sit down to a bowl of sugar in the form of cereal or slices of sugar in the form of bread, both presented to us by the profitable grain industry, we then pour half a litre of diary milk – over the grains.
Did you know that drinking just 500ml of milk a day can increase a man’s chances of Prostate cancer by 500%- increase it by 5 times!!
So with Cortisol high in our blood telling us to wake up, get out of bed and hunt, It is not hard to see why modern habits are making us sick and fat.
A basic food comparison to help you understand the sugar content of grains is – 4 punnets of Strawberries have the same amount of sugar as one slice of bread – one slice!
So with all that said…. the question of intermittent fasting is brought to the table and one type of intermittent fasting is missing breakfast and not eating until mid to late morning.
Why I have stopped eating breakfast
I have revised my personal eating schedule to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time i eat food to a period of about six to seven hours, which is typically from noon to around 7pm. Our ancestors rarely had access to food 24/7 like we do today, and it makes sense that our genes are optimised for intermittent fasting. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolise your glycogen stores and after that you actually start to shift to burning fat.
When you get up and exercise in the morning on an empty stomach, there is nothing readily available for your body to use as a fuel source because you have not eaten for many hours. Your body immediately burns your glycogen stores- your fat stores and not the sugars you would have just eaten if you had chosen to eat breakfast. Your body starts to shift to burning fat immediately.
If you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours, you make it far more difficult for your body to actually use your fat stores as fuel because it can always utilize sugars you have just eaten – just make sure you dose up on a good pure protein source – whey protein isolate is a good one, no later than 30 minutes after completion of your exercise. If you are driving home from your work out- id suggest taking a good quality protein powder with you in your bag – adding filtered water into your shaker at the end of your workout and drink it as you are driving home. This will optimise your bodies immediate anabolism and increase its ability to repair and grow muscle.
Whatever the protein powder, just make sure it has branch chain amino acids in it- such as Leucine. We are talking about breaking down fats- and not doing that at the expense of lean muscle mass, intermittent fasting will not break down muscle mass if you are providing your body with enough quality protein sources.
Fasting is historically common place as it has been a part of spiritual practice for millennia. Modern research has also confirmed there are many good reasons to fast, intermittently, including:
The fact that fasting improves a number of potent disease markers such as those listed above also contributes to fastings overall beneficial effects on general health.