With so many diets available today, how can you tell which one is right for you? First, if you go on a diet, you will surely go off of a diet. As a result, you can expect fluctuations in your results (i.e. fat levels). Therefore, dieting is not recommended. Alter your lifestyle and current diet with simple adjustments.
Let’s break it down into 10 diet facts.
Fact 1: Skipping breakfast will drastically reduce your fat-burning capabilities.
Studies have proven that individuals who skip breakfast have a higher body fat percentage. Skipping breakfast keeps your body in starvation mode, resulting in fat storage of any ingested calories. On the other hand, eating breakfast will do the exact opposite. Eating breakfast allows your body to move from starvation mode to fat-burning mode (we will get into what to eat later on).
Fact 2: Skipping breakfast will immediately turn your body into fat-storing mode.
When you wake up in the morning, your body is in starvation mode from its night-long fast. If you sleep the recommended seven to nine hours, then you have not consumed any calories over that period of time. Your body is looking for anything it can use to use as energy (calories). The first thing that is digested into your body in the morning, your body will want to store it as fat. Therefore, it is imperative to immediately get out of this mode by choosing a smaller portioned meal that has the correct balance of exact macronutrients (protein, fats).
Fact 3: Eating the wrong foods for breakfast will result in low energy levels.
The first thing you eat in the morning is critical. Macronutrient content of food directly affects neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain. Neurotransmitters directly affect physical and cognitive functionality. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers within the brain that carry information from brain cell to brain cell, which is vital for cognitive functionality.
Studies have shown that a high-protein and healthy fat meal, which is low-glycemic in nature, can extend cognitive performance, control blood sugar, and even enhance fat burning for hours and hours. However, waking up and eating carbs/sugars first thing in the morning (banana, OJ, cereals) will generate an insulin response by spiking blood sugar levels. As a result, your body will be in fat-storing mode and your energy levels will crash. A chemical named serotonin will be elevated, which results in poor cognitive brain function and provides less physical prowess.
Fact 4: Eating simple carbohydrates for breakfast will result in blood sugar level elevation, which will increase fat storage and lead to crashing.
As mentioned above, eating carbohydrates that are higher glycemic will immediately elevate blood sugar levels, which results in an increase in fat storage and low energy levels. Foods such as high-sugar cereal, bananas, OJ, lactose and fruit should be avoided first thing in the morning. If you are eating any one of these items, add protein, fat, and/or fiber to the meal. These macronutrients will aid in slowing down the absorption of the food (i.e. reducing the glycemic value).
Fact 5: Eating too much in the morning, and too fast, will result in a sluggish feeling and fat storage.
As mentioned before, first thing in the morning, your body is in starvation mode from its overnight fast. Therefore, eating a larger portioned meal first thing in the morning can result in a significant rise in blood sugar levels. Instead, choose a smaller sized meal that will help get your body out of starvation mode and kick-start your metabolism.
Fact 6: A high-protein breakfast will enhance cognitive and energy function.
Eating a high-protein breakfast, preferably from an animal source, will help you feed the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine, as well as BCAAs. These neurotransmitters are directly linked to increased mental focus and energy, and are produced from amino acids (protein), the fundamental building blocks of muscle within the body.
The precursor for acetylcholine is choline (found in animal protein). Beef, eggs, chicken, turkey and seafood all provide excellent levels of choline. These meats also contain BCAAs, which can help increase memory function, reduce post-exercise fatigue, enhance protein synthesis, and keep your body in an anabolic state (lean muscle growth).
Fact 7: Healthy fats stabilize blood sugar levels and enhance cognitive function.
Nuts provide an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which significantly enhance brain function. Nuts aid in preventing blood sugar spikes and can help stabilize blood sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. Stabilized blood sugar levels will help reduce fat storage.
Fact 8: Eating breakfast results in elevated Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which is directly linked to fat burning.
Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) refers to the elevated levels in metabolism post-workout, once the body has recovered a bit. The amount of calories burned during a workout is minimal compared to EPOC. EPOC has a correlative effect to nutrition. EPOC is greatest after exhausting the anaerobic energy system. Therefore, fat loss is greatest after anaerobic energy system training (resistance training) when compared to aerobic energy system training (running, cardio).
Studies have shown that EPOC is elevated significantly more when people eat breakfast and work out than those who skip breakfast and perform cardio/work out.
Fact 9: Eating breakfast enhances workouts, particularly anaerobic workouts, which can burn significantly more fat.
As mentioned in Fact 8, anaerobic exercise results in greater levels of fat burning than aerobic exercise does. Eating breakfast provides you with greater energy to perform at higher levels. Therefore, greater intensity during workouts results in elevated EPOC. It is also important to note that lean muscle growth is a major side effect of anaerobic training. Higher levels of lean muscle mean lower levels of fat mass.
Fact 10: Everything you know about breakfast foods is wrong.
Choose breakfast foods such as eggs, turkey, chicken, lean grass-fed beef, salmon, almonds, dark leafy greens, legumes (beans), almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and various other items in these categories.
Do not neglect starches and/or grains. Starches and grains play a key role in lean muscle growth and fat burning. However, choose a carbohydrate meal, preferably oatmeal with limited lactose, an hour or two post-breakfast. Another option is to eat this meal pre-workout, roughly two to three hours before, in order to significantly enhance your workout capabilities (especially anaerobic).
Note: carbohydrates are not bad. The problem that people run into is portion control. When choosing your carbohydrates, stick to whole grains and/or resistant starches (rolled oats). Choose smaller portions during a single feeding. Spread out your carbohydrate intake over numerous meals. Another great tip is to eat fats, fibers and proteins along with carbohydrates to keep the meal’s glycemic value low.
1. Eat and Heal
By The Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing
2. The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd edition).
By, National Strength and Conditioning Association
Editors: Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
©2008, 2000, 1994
3. New Vitamin Bible - revised and updated
By, Earl Mindell, Rph, PhD with Hester Mundis