A low carb breakfast improves blood sugar levels for whole day
One of the key messages that residential clients of Homefield take away with them is to replace high carb breakfasts with a high protein breakfast.
We have come to rely too much on high carb foods which are quick and easy to prepare such as cereals, muesli’s, granola’s, toast. But these foods cause a spike in blood sugar levels and a subsequent crash. At the bottom of the crash you are likely to feel tired, weak and irritable causing you to reach for sugary snacks and coffee mid-morning. Another spike and crash follows, causing you to choose a high carb lunch (e.g. sandwiches, jacket potato, bag of crisps, banana) which will lead to another mid after-noon crash, where we reach for the tea and chocolate bar. Another crash follows and we are reaching for the wine and crisps as soon as we get home.
It is familiar to many of our clients who recognise only too well this spiking and crashing of blood sugar and the poor food choices it encourages. What many people don’t realise however, is that this constant spiking and crashing causes the release of two weight-gaining hormones – insulin and cortisol. Regardless of calorie intake, if your food choices constantly provoke production of these two hormones, you will find it hard to lose weight.
There have been many studies confirming this mechanism, and yet another has recently highlighted how a low carb breakfast is of particular importance to those with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D).
The study at University of British Columbia used a small device that attached to the abdomen of participants with well controlled T2D, and monitored their blood sugar spikes every 5 minutes, across an entire day. On one day participants ate an omelette for breakfast and on another day, they ate oatmeal and some fruit. An identical lunch and dinner were provided on both days. Participants also reported on ratings of hunger, fullness and a desire to eat something sweet or savoury.
The study found that consuming the omelette completely prevented the blood sugar spike after breakfast. They were also surprised to find that it also lowered overall glucose exposure and improved the stability of glucose readings for the next 24 hours.
Associate Professor Jonathan Little said “We expected that limiting carbohydrates to less than 10 per cent at breakfast would help prevent the spike after this meal, but we were a bit surprised that this had enough of an effect and that the overall glucose control and stability were improved. We know that large swings in blood sugar are damaging to our blood vessels, eyes and kidneys. The inclusion of a very low-carb high-fat breakfast meal in T2D patients may be a practical and easy way to target the large morning glucose spike and reduce associated complications.”
Participants also noted that pre-meal hunger and their cravings for sweet foods later in the day tended to be lower if they ate the low-carb breakfast. Professor Little suggests this change in diet might be a healthy step for anybody, even those who are not diabetic.
It’s not just eggs though
Consider any kind of protein/fat such as fish (smoked salmon/mackerel/tinned fish), tofu, meat (e.g. chicken or turkey), nuts/seeds, avocado. Although breakfast is the one meal that clients are most reluctant to change, when they do make the change they always report better weight management, less cravings, improved energy and mood. So make that change!!!