What is the ideal breakfast?

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4 RESOURCES

 

What is the ideal breakfast?

 

Eat only whole fruit

 

Coffee and other morning drinks

 

Choose your sweetener

It's a common assumption that eating something sweet for breakfast is good because it will give us energy for the rest of the day.

But that's not exactly true.​

Even though carbs are one of the main sources of our body's energy, when we eat, our body releases insulin to get rid of the glucose excess; so instead of the newly digested molecules staying around in our system to be used for fuel, they get stored away – as glycogen or fat. 

In fact, the truth is precisely the opposite.

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Besides the shared beliefs, with equal calories, a sweet breakfast gives us less energy than a savory one. 

When we eat, our pancreas produces insulin to get rid of the excess glucose; the more glucose we eat, the bigger the consequent spike is, and more insulin is released. When the insulin starts to act, the glucose gets stored away, and our blood sugar drops down very quickly, making us tired, sleepy, low energy, and hungry.

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The best way to have steady energy is to change the classic sweet breakfast and eat a savory breakfast, avoiding the crush we usually get a couple of hours later. 

 

If you’re looking for a perfect breakfast that gives you steady energy, go savory.

WHAT'S A SAVORY BREAKFAST?

A savory breakfast is basically a breakfast that doesn’t taste sweet, so it won't raise blood sugar that much. 

This kind of breakfast can be very versatile; it ranges from classical eggs and bacon to something fancier like avocado toast. Also, if you’re looking for some sweet and fresh taste in the morning, you can add some whole fruit to your breakfast.

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Even though whole fruit has some glucose in it, it’s the best way to eat something sweet because it also has fiber, which helps slow down the glucose spikes. Eat your whole fruit at the end of your breakfast to minimize its impact on blood sugar.

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WHAT CONTAINS THE IDEAL BREAKFAST?

The ideal breakfast to keep our blood sugar contains a good amount of protein, fiber, fat, and eventually so starch and fruit. Here are some ideas:

  • Protein: there are a lot of protein sources, like Greek yogurt, tofu, meat, cold cuts, fish, cheese, cream cheese, protein powder, nuts, nut butter, seeds, eggs… 

  • Fat: choose your favorite fat, like butter, olive oil, avocado, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nut butter…

    • Tip: choose always the full-fat foods; the fat-free foods won’t keep you full.

  • Fiber: the best way to add some fiber is by eating vegetables, from spinach to mushrooms to tomatoes to zucchini to artichoke, sauerkraut, lentils, lettuce…

    • Tip: it can be tricky to eat veggies for breakfast; a great trick is to mix some spinach or mushrooms into your scrambled eggs -or tofu- or some tomatoes on your avocado toast.

    • Tip: nuts and seeds are also rich in fiber. 

  • Optional starch: you can have oats, toast, rice, potatoes…

  • Optional fruit: any whole fruit you like; the best options are berries.

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WHY IS THE FIRST MEAL SO IMPORTANT?

Beyond causing big glucose spikes, a sweet breakfast will deregulate our glucose levels for the rest of the day, so any other meal we will eat during the day will also create bigger spikes.

This is why a huge spike after breakfast will put you on a glucose rollercoaster. Instead, a flat breakfast on the other hand will make our lunch and dinner steadier.

Now, let’s analyze some of the most common breakfasts to see their impact on glucose levels.

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NOTE: I am thinking

in doing a graph

like this

showing a

rollercoaster-glucose

day

BREAKFAST CEREAL

In 2018, a Standford University scientific team showed how common foods, like cereal breakfast, provoke huge glucose spikes -even above 200 mg/dL- in healthy non-diabetic individuals. 

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In fact, Even though marketing touts it as part of a healthy diet, regular breakfast cereal is mostly just sugar and refined carbs. And there’s more, even cereals labeled as “healthy” and “weight loss” spike blood sugar immensely, in completely unhealthy and dangerous ranges.

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Most granolas and muesli have just about as much sugar in them as regular cereal.

So, if you are a fan of cereals, write down these tips:

  • Look for cereals that don't have sugar, honey, dates, raisins, or similar  in the top 5 ingredients on the packaging;

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  • Look for cereals with high fiber, low carbs, or with a nut base;

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  • Pair your cereals with proteins and fat, like whole milk, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened nut milk, instead of skim milk; or you can add some protein on the side.

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OATS

Oats it’s another classic breakfast that usually leads to glucose spikes; oats are 100% starch, and starch turns to glucose when digested. But there are a few tips that we can use to flatten their curve:

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  • Pick steel-cut oats: rolled or instant oats are more processed, so they spike us even higher than steel-cut oats.

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  • Add protein and fat: eggs are great, but you can also add protein powder, nut butter, Greek yogurt, and ghee, for example.

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  • Add fiber: there are a lot of options, like hemp or chia seeds, cauliflower rice, or all sort of nuts. 

  • Pick a friendly fruit: berries are the best option; try to avoid tropical fruit, dried fruit, and fruit juices.

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NOTE: Maybe we should add a tip about cooking or not oats?

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SMOOTHIES

Even though smoothies are an extremely popular breakfast option, labeled as healthy, not all smoothies are created equal! In fact, the smoothies that contain only fruit spike our glucose, when we blend fruit into a smoothie, the blades of the blender pulverize the fiber particles of the fruit, and the fiber is less useful in preventing a spike.​​​​​​​​

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A glucose-healthy smoothie is one centered around protein, fat, and fiber, with just some fruit for the taste. My tips to create a glucose-approved smoothie:

  • Contain a source of protein: protein powder, nuts, nut butter...

  • Contain a source of fat: avocado, coconut oil, nut butter...

  • Have a minimal amount of fruit, and ideally berries.

  • Unlimited amounts of veggies.

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TOASTS

Toast is a classic breakfast, especially the one with jam. When we eat toast, which is carbs, if we add to it more carbs, like jam, for example, the spike gets bigger; but if we add to it fat, fiber, and protein, like almond butter, the spike gets smaller. 

Also, not all the bread is the same, there are a few types of bread that are better for glucose; for example, sourdough bread is fermented, and during fermentation, some of the glucose in the flour is metabolized.

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  • Tip: put some clothes on your carbs. If you're eating carbs (sugars and starches), add protein, fat, or fiber to them to flatten the glucose curve.

  • Tip: pick a glucose-steady bread:

    • Sourdough bread

    • Pumpernickel bread

    • Seed bread

    • Dark rye bread

SAVORY BREAKFAST IDEAS

If you aren't a big fan of vinegar taste, I have some recipe ideas to help you. These vinegar drinks work to lower blood sugar just as well as plain vinegar in water and are delicious. 

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Dark rye toast with scrambled eggs, kimchi, tomatoes, and seeds + strawberries with peanut butter and cacao nibs

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Seed bread with butter, lettuce, smoked salmon, pickled onions, and pumpkin seeds + tomatoes + yogurt with seeds

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Rye toast with hummus, tomato and arugula

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Egg salad wrap with fresh spinach

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Zucchini and feta omelette with pickled onions

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Greek yogurt with strawberries, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, coconut chips, and cacao nibs

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Almond milk chia pudding with two strawberries, some blueberries and almond butter

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Smoothie with almond milk, frozen cauliflower, protein powder, almonds, vanilla extract, and stevia to taste

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Smoothie with almond milk, frozen cauliflower, protein powder, tahini, cacao powder, stevia to taste

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CONCLUSION

In conclusion: if you’re looking for the best breakfast to take care of your health, have steady energy all day long, and stay full and satisfied, choose a savory breakfast.

Avoid sugar-packed foods like breakfast cereal or fruit juice; instead, eat foods rich in fiber, protein, and fat, like nuts, Greek yogurt, or egg; eat only whole fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth; and, if you need it, use only glucose-approved sweeteners, like stevia, or monk fruit.

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Eat only whole fruit 

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