Of the three main meals a day, the meal that’s been most destroyed by the high-carb food and sugar industry is by far, your morning breakfast.

It is not surprising. If they can ‘own your morning start’ – they can control the rest of your day. On one hand ,whether you spend your money on one part of the food industry versus another doesn’t really matter. On the other hand, be aware of the implications of your breakfast decision on the rest of your day’s wellbeing – or more importantly – the rest of your days!

High-Carb: Hows it going so far?

In 1984, the USDA produced the food wheel recommending a “pattern of daily food choices”. In 1992, the USDA began advocating the food pyramid, which is grounded on a high carbohydrate diet (6-11 serves of grains, cereals, pastas etc.), and conversely the sparing use of oils and fats. Planet earth adopted these principles, seemingly unaware of the consequences. In 1961, the global population was just over 3 Billion people, and would double by year 2000. In that same period of time, cereal production had tripled. In 2016, a report by Credence Research, highlighted the breakfast cereal market was valued at $37.7B USD, and forecasted to reach $51B USD by end 2023. In 2010, the OECD produced a report, which headlined the intent of tackling the growing burden of obesity. The top 7 countries with the leading percentage of obese adults were, in the number one spot, the USA, followed by Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary, Australia, UK and Canada. At the time of the OECD report (2017), over 38% of Americans were termed ‘Obese’, which was over 10 times that of the least obese country, Japan at 3.7%. While somewhat light hearted, a small blog was written in 2013, calling out why Japan is a cereal lovers worst nightmare. The association of high sugar high carbohydrate diets with diabetes and obesity has been well published. In the US alone, diabetes continues to grow, with 8% of the population effected in 2000, and by 2016, 13%, or 34 million Americans effected by the disease.

There are many factors by association that can be accurately or erroneously attributed to the cause of obesity and diabetes. The control over the first meal of the day, is not an isolated control point, but a more insidious control point for the whole of your day, and in time your habitual, dietetic lifestyle.

Why do we say that?

The circadian rhythm is a natural internal governing pattern which regulates the sleep-wake patterns of life, and is some-what synchronized with the 24 hour planetary rotation of the earth. With this rhythm, various biological functions are set in motion, like our glandular secretions, change in heart rate, body temperature and many other factors. Like all rhythms though, this too can be interfered with by external influences, like artificial lights, various compounds in foods, drinks, drugs and as many well know – jet travel.

Our morning rise is very much part of this circadian rhythm. It’s an interesting part of the day, where blood-sugar readings are really a reflection of being in a somewhat fasted (no food-drink consumption) state since the prior evening meal. So, if our evening meal was at 7pm, and we have our morning breakfast at 7am, this would be a 12 hour fasted state. Hence it is common practice that blood-sugar readings are taken in this early morning fasted state, to best understand our baseline blood-sugar levels. From a medical and health perspective, current guidance is to keep blood sugar levels in baseline ranges, and also to see that our body can rapidly return blood-sugar levels to baseline levels, within an hour or so, of consuming food and/or drink.

This ‘normal’ rhythm and baseline range of blood-sugar levels is what is under attack, with the pervasive consumption of higher carbohydrate, lower fat and low fiber foods.

Relentlessly, the attack begins each morning…and only gets worse through the day.

Enter Boxed Cereal breakfasts –

Actually – this has nothing to do with a box, and maybe even little to do with whole grain cereals. Diving into the ingredients of these foods reveal a lot about how these foods can effect our metabolism, at the start of the day, and importantly effect the ongoing swings and balance of our daily blood-sugars. Taking a list of the top 3 boxed cereal products, here is the ingredients, and the carbohydrate, fiber, fat profile.

For some context, 1 teaspoon of sugar is about 4 to 5grams of simple carbohydrate. Once these foods pass through the gut, they’ll deliver the equivalent of anywhere between 5 and almost 8 teaspoons of sugar into the bloodstream. Now, the two major food components that can slow down the rate at which glucose is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream are fiber and fat. As you can see in these products fiber and fat are extremely low, in fact zero in some cases. So, you now have this first food of the day, primed to rapidly dump a significant amount of glucose into the bloodstream, spiking the blood-sugar levels, then insulin levels – followed by the classic crash of plummeting blood sugar levels.

It is right here, that owning your morning meal has the potential to control the rest of your day, where the the rhythmic spike and crash of swinging blood sugars, is set in motion reconfirming our insidious dietetic behaviors of the day. Days turn into weeks, weeks into years and that defines your dietetic lifestyle.

This article is not about calling out a certain breakfast meal, frankly any high-carb, low-fat, low fibre food will have the same effect. Its just that cereals, juices and sodas are at the top of the breakfast list for US and the majority of western consumers. Hopefully, this causes you to think twice about your starting meal of the day – and whether you take control, or lose control.

Taking back Control, of your Morning, and your Day –

Current guidance on better controlling your blood sugars, is first founded on being physically active, and secondly a more balanced selection of foods which provide the needed caloric supply and nutrition, while minimizing the rapid spike (and sustained rise) in blood-sugar levels

I will leave it to Google, for you to find your preferred daily form of physical activity, and will focus here on a few concepts to help you choose better morning breakfast starts.

The Key – Rebalance your Breakfast Carb to Fat/Fibre ratio

Drop the mindset that the only way to get your start of day calories is through grains, cereals and breads in the morning. One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories, where one gram of fat yields 9 calories! By fat I am talking quality fats from nuts like almonds, chia seeds, coconut oil etc. Note the more carbohydrates you consume, the more unable you are to efficiently burn fat calories as fuel. The first recommendation is to move your preferred morning breakfast to be more balanced in quality oils-fats, and lower in carbohydrate. Don’t get distracted on the calorie amount, but rather seek to reduce the carbohydrate, simple sugar levels – and switch them to healthy oils, fats and fibres. Here are 5 easy guidelines, and a recipe guide below for better breakfasts, so you can take control of your mornings and your day –

  1. Coffee, or hot cacao, or green-tea are all good options at the start of the day. Avoid adding sugars, syrups or honey to these. Add full cream, vs. milk, if you want to add a creamer.
  2. If you’re into Cereal based breakfasts – shift to a cereal that’s higher in nuts, seeds and lower in refined grains, flour sugar, sucrose, fructose, maltodextrins and dried fruits. Add some coconut oil, psyllium fibre and natural non-calorie sweetener like monk fruit, or stevia. If you add protein to your cereal it is best to use a milk protein isolate, versus pure whey protein isolate. A nice do-it-yourself granola is found in the recipe guide below.
  3. If you’re into pancakes for breakfast – shift the formula from refined white flour to almond flour, add some psyllium fiber, milk protein isolate, vanilla, cinnamon and natural non-calorie sweetener like monk fruit, or stevia. Pour full cream and natural raspberries/blueberries or strawberries over pancakes vs. syrups and sugar based flavors. Simple recipe in the guide below.
  4. If you’re into eggs for breakfast – keep going with it. Best to poach, or boil the egg, rather than fry. Add more vegetable (mushroom, tomato) sides vs. white/whole meal bread-toast. Cook bacon with the vegetables, to help the shift from bread-toast. Add olive oil over vegetables if you prefer.
  5. For cool drinks (besides water) first thing in the morning, prior to a workout, shift from juices, to shakes, use a MCT-collagen oil powder mix (SFuels LIFE), and use non-calorie sweetener like monk fruit, or stevia – to minimize insulin triggering. Flavor with small serve of berries, or cacao/unsweetened chocolate-cacao powder. Be careful with fruit based juices and smoothies as these are concentrated sugar/fructose foods which can be problematic to blood sugar control.

Get started, and take control again of your mornings and your daily life – with this simple recipe Guide, the LIFE Guide, over 20 recipes including breakfasts, cool drinks and shakes to get you started on the right foot.

All the best in health – Go Longer. Team SFuels.