I haven’t had breakfast today. I didn’t have breakfast on Tuesday either. We’re back on the 5:2 regime and this is the only was I can do it. Nothing to eat until around 4pm and then Cauliflower Pizza which is very scrummy.
For as long as I can remember we’ve been told that we should/must eat breakfast to get our metabolism working. Apparently if we don’t we will not perform tasks as well, we’ll have no energy and we’ll feel sluggish. So, for years I have followed advice and always made sure I had breakfast (whether or not I was hungry) and low and behold within 2 hours I was hungry. It didn’t matter what I ate, porridge didn’t stay longer in my stomach, higher protein didn’t make a lot of difference and my usual toasted Rye bread with butter and Marmite also only lasts a couple of hours.
I discovered last year, when I previously did the 5:2 regime, that not having breakfast or anything to eat for as long as I could on a fasting day worked far better for me. I noticed higher energy if anything (I guess my body wasn’t having to work on digesting food) and felt far less hungry than when I eat breakfast. I found that once I’d had my mid morning coffee, I lost that “I haven’t had breakfast feeling” and was coffee time.
So, what are others saying about this?
When I tell patients this, many of them agree, saying that a good breakfast “anchors” them for the rest of the day, and prevents indiscriminate eating later on. Others insist that, if they eat breakfast, it kindles their appetites, and they’re off to the races with their food cravings. The latter group often says: “I’m fine until I eat, then it’s downhill for the rest of the day.”
Recently, some counter-think has been introduced into the breakfast debate. With the popularity of Intermittent Fasting, some argue that the longer we go without eating, the better it is for us. During the long period between an early dinner and a late brunch—sometimes up to 18 hours—the digestive apparatus rests, and ketosis is induced; ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body cannibalizes its own fat stores. Restricting eating to a narrow window of say, eight hours per day is a modified and do-able form of fasting.
Advocates of Intermittent Fasting say it reduces insulin resistance, combats inflammation, and even helps mood and memory because blood sugar is stabilized and the brain fuels itself with short chain fatty acids instead of glucose.
Contrary to popular belief, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. In fact, omitting breakfast, as part of an intermittent fasting schedule, can have many important health benefits, from improving your insulin/leptin sensitivity to helping your body more effectively burn fat for fuel.
Longer bouts of fasting have also been shown to have potent health benefits, including the regeneration of your immune system, as demonstrated in recent research.
Many people find that eating breakfast leads to feeling hungry again soon thereafter, which can lead to unnecessary snacking. This is reflected in another recent study4 into the metabolic effects of eating or skipping breakfast.
As reported by Time Magazine:5
“…contrary to popular belief, having breakfast every day was not tied to an improvement in metabolism. Prior thought—supported by research—has shown that eating early in the day can prevent people from overeating later out of hunger, and it boosts their metabolism early. The new study which examined causal links between breakfast habits and energy balance couldn’t prove that.”
The study found that eating breakfast was linked to a greater overall dietary energy intake. And again, the type of foods you eat for breakfast may be the key ingredient that is being overlooked in this type of research—both past and present. Typically, you will find that eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast will tend to make you hungry again far sooner than a low-carb, high-fat breakfast will. The reason for this is because if your body is using sugar as its primary fuel, it will need a “refill” at regular intervals, as sugar is a very fast-burning fuel.
“Eating a healthy breakfast is a good way to start the day,” according to the Web site of the United States surgeon general, “and may be important in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.”
But new research shows that despite the conventional weight-loss wisdom, the idea that eating breakfast helps you lose weight stems largely from misconstrued studies.
Only a handful of rigorous, carefully controlled trials have tested the claim, the new report, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found. And generally they conclude that missing breakfast has either little or no effect on weight gain, or that people who eat breakfast end up consuming more daily calories than those who skip it.
So, here I am not feeling hungry despite being up 4 hours and only having one cup of tea and one black coffee. (Black because I refer black, not for purposes of weight loss).
I think in the hyperbole of the 5:2 debut, the idea was that you could do this and eat what you like in the other days. I also know now that it is better to maintain some control and healthy eating plan during the 5 eating days, so during the interim of the Fasting Days we’ve decided to be very low carb which is one of my favourite, healthy ways to eat. We haven’t eaten normal bread, any potatoes, or pasta, or rice since Sunday. I have recently discovered Chick Pea pasta which is great and high protein. So, if and when I would normally make pasta, this is what we have. You really only need a little, it’s incredibly filling. We’re not talking Atkins, or Dukan. I am still having my Rye Toast on those days, but other meals are more or less carb free.
We are both Morbidly Obese and do wish that people would try not to point it out to us the plainly obvious. One day I am going to have to answer back. The other night we were out for the evening and after the short film there were “aperos” (drinks and nibbles). I picked up a drink and a small wafer biscuit. My petite (and I suspect pretty much naturally so) friend looked at me and said, “You’re not eating again!” in horror. There was a distraction, so no time for me to have to answer, which is just as well, as it is humiliating when you discover that even your friends judge you on your size. My answer might have been, “I’m sorry, are these for just to look at.” I often come across people who let stuff slip from their lips when really it would be better if they kept what they were thinking in their heads. I am sure they don’t think we see what they see.
I wanted to write about the breakfast myth and thought I’d mention what we’re up do and hope that people allow us to get on with it and not tell us about their ideas re diet, regimes and eating plans. We’re 60 and 67 and have been there, done that and have many diet T shirts. We know what works, we know why they don’t all work and we know why we’re fat. We know it’s in our hands and we know that fads, shakes, special diet meals that cost £££’s is not the answer.
So, thanks for reading, thanks for listening and thanks in advance for not teaching an old dog new tricks.
Anyway, the gates are closed and we plan for them to remain so for some time!