The importance of breakfast is a principle of nutrition taught to children. If you want to perform well in school you need a good breakfast, and children who skip breakfast often have low energy, poor attention, and reduced performance. The problem was low blood sugar. Nutritionists thought the solution was eating carbohydrates. This led to breakfasts that were high carbohydrate and low protein such as cereal and OJ or even donuts and pastries. Carbs became a staple for the American breakfast.
As the science of nutrition evolved we learned more about how the body uses protein, carbohydrates and fats, and our concepts about meals changed. We now know that the best way to stabilize blood sugar for children – and adults – is eating fewer carbs and more protein. Carbohydrates can give you a quick burst of energy, they but also lead to a big insulin response that causes a drop in blood sugar in about two hours. This drop in blood sugar saps your energy and leads to snacking. If you’re young, exercise daily, and have normal body weight, you may be able to tolerate a higher carbohydrate diet and snacks, but for most adults, high-carb breakfasts and snacks lead to weight gain and unwanted body fat.It’s time for a new breakfast.
When you wake up, it’s likely you have been without food for about 12 hours. Your body is burning fat – which is great – but also breaking down your lean tissues including muscle and bone. What you eat at the first meal determines how your body burns fat and protects itself for the rest of the day. Breakfast determines your metabolic pattern. If the first meal is high in carbs and low in protein, the rush of insulin shifts your body from burning fats to storing fat and even converting the carbs you eat into new fat. Lack of adequate protein at breakfast also leaves your body breaking down lean tissues. The ideal breakfast contains protein, carbohydrate, and fat with the balance of protein and carbs being the critical parts. The METABOLIQ Lifestyle is designed to create the right balance.
Let’s consider breakfast for three different adults: 1) an individual wanting to lose weight, 2) an adult maintaining weight, and 3) any adult with morning exercise.
An adult trying to lose weight must be careful with diet choices. Any mistakes at breakfast and you’re likely to be hungry, tired, and unsuccessful with weight loss. Breakfast should contain at least 30 grams of protein and less than 40 grams of carbohydrates. The METABOLIQ Shake is a complete meal replacement with an ideal balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. The protein is an optimal blend to energize your muscles, the carbs are selected provide energy but minimize insulin, and the fats are rapidly burned for energy.
The Shake can be mixed with water or milk to allow you to get the right amount of calories for your weight loss. The Shake mixed with water provides 220 calories. Mix it with 4 oz. of water and 4 oz. of 1 % milk for 270 calories, or 8 oz. of 2% milk for 340 calories. The Shake can be mixed with soy milk if you like, but avoid almond or rice milks that add a lot of carbs with very little protein. Select the calories you need so that you’re not hungry before lunch and lose weight. If you feel hungry during morning, then you need more calories at breakfast. An adult maintaining weight has a little more flexibility with calories and can mix the Shake in 2% milk or even Kefir (read the label to avoid extra sugars).
Morning exercise means you need to adjust your meal timing. If your exercise is low intensity, like walking, then have the Shake whenever you wish before or after exercise. However, if your exercise is higher intensity running, you should save the Shake until after your work out. Contrary to advice of some trainers, there is no advantage to having protein before exercise, but there is a lot of benefit to having protein after exercise. If you need something before exercise, I recommend a light combination of carbohydrates and protein such as toast and an egg or maybe a whole grain cereal with milk. Keep the calories low and use whatever makes you feel comfortable. The purpose of food before exercise is to maintain your energy during the exercise. If your goal is to lose weight and reduce body fat, then eating nothing is best. You may feel tired for a couple of weeks while you adjust to burning just fat during your exercise but you will adapt and ultimately burn a lot more body fat. If you want the Shake before exercise, you should finish it at least 2 hours before beginning your work out. Drink the Shake during the first hour after exercise to accelerate recovery and maximize the benefits of the training.
Getting breakfast right will energize your metabolism for the day and make you feel great.
For your health,
Dr. Donald K. Layman
Dr. Donald K. Layman, Ph.D is Professor Emeritus of Nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois. With more than 33 years of teaching and research experience, Dr. Layman has numerous awards and recognitions, including awards from the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.