Most Americans wake up, rub the sleep out of their eyes, clean up and rush out the door. Breakfast is an afterthought. But soon after that, stomachs start to growl for some food energy. But by now it’s gotten a bit too late, and no oatmeal or egg will suffice. It’s time for doughnuts, or candy at the receptionist’s desk, or the potato chips in the vending machine.
There’s a good reason for this behavior. It’s called blood sugar. And blood sugar is at its lowest upon waking. Hypoglycemia is associated with slowness, dullness, sleepiness, crankiness, and it sparks feelings of hunger. For sugar. And once we have it, we feel sated and comfortable again, not to mention more awake, because sugar gives us a burst of adrenaline. Tasks are done with a flourish. Until about 10 o’clock in the morning. Then there’s another crash.
The high levels of sugar in our blood cause the pancreas to secrete insulin. With the help of insulin, sugar moves from the blood stream into the body’s cells to do work. This lowers blood sugar levels again, and the body goes back to feeling irritable and hungry. And so we make a midmorning beeline for the Jelly Bellies to receive another jolt, another spike in our blood sugar, and the vicious cycle continues. In the end, this cycle causes weight gain and fatigue, and affects overall and sexual health.
One thing can help with this, and that’s something called “breakfast.” Statistic after statistic tells us how important breakfast is, especially one that contains whole grains and protein. The Imperial College of London found that people who ate breakfast were far less likely to give in to fatty foods later in the day. Another study showed that drinking fat-free milk at breakfast helped people to feel fuller, more satisfied and to eat fewer calories at lunch. Yet another study reported that people who ate two eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight and felt more energetic than people who ate bagels for breakfast. And the list goes on. Suffice it to say, starting the day with a good breakfast should help you to actually lose weight and improve your overall health and sex life. It is by far the most important meal of the day.
Eating a proper breakfast, before you get too hungry, makes it easier to resist sugar cravings and helps you make healthier choices at lunch and dinner. Stick to whole foods and grains as much as possible, and include protein in your breakfast. A well designed breakfast takes longer to digest and will cause less of a spike in your blood sugar. Apples or bananas paired with almond or peanut butter, for instance, could pass for breakfast. Whole grain toast with nut butter; yogurt and fruit with a handful of nuts; even a protein shake can make the grade. Opt out of the French toast and go for the scrambled eggs. Another trick is to make breakfast more convenient than a trip to Starbucks. Get it into your system before a croissant does. Trust me, the rest of the day will be a cakewalk.