The Truth About Breakfast

Breakfast is the meal that we’re constantly told that we must eat. Supposedly, we should eat breakfast like a king in order to be lean and healthy — although the absurdity of eating more food in order to lose weight doesn’t seem to dawn on these geniuses.

There’s nothing wrong with breakfast — just like there’s nothing wrong with no breakfast.

What matters much more is what we eat for breakfast.

Unfortunately, Americans most often eat breakfast cereal and other sugar-laden and high-carbohydrate food, like muffins, sugar-sweetened yogurt, donuts, bagels, juice.

It’s no wonder that so many people are overweight or obese. Breakfast is a big part of the problem.

Breakfast cereal and other high-carbohydrate food that Americans eat in the morning

  • spikes blood sugar
  • spikes insulin
  • leads to eating more later
  • perfect recipe for acne
  • makes people fat
  • low in protein -> muscle loss

Breakfast Candy

Many breakfast foods are more aptly characterized as breakfast candy.

Check out the following illustration (from here) on the amount of sugar in some typical breakfast foods:

breakfast-candy

Any food like this will spike your blood sugar. Then what happens next is that your blood sugar crashes from the rise in insulin, and you either have a hypoglycemic episode and/or become ravenously hungry by mid-morning and then eat more. I used to have hypoglycemic crashes all the time and thought they were normal; not to get too far ahead of myself, but when I switched to a low-carbohydrate, unprocessed diet, they immediately stopped.

Even if you don’t eat food with added sugar, don’t think you’ll steer clear of this. A bagel, for instance, has about 300 calories and 56 grams of carbohydrate. Refined carbs like flour should be known as “sugar in waiting”, since they turn to glucose when digested, with very nearly the same effects on blood sugar and insulin as sugar.

When men ate a bagel for breakfast and their food intake was tracked over the next 24 hours, they ate ~400 calories more than people who ate eggs for breakfast.1

When women ate a bagel for breakfast and were later given a buffet lunch, they ate 160 more calories at lunch than those who ate eggs.2

There are a large number of studies showing the same, that eating a large amount of refined carbohydrates for breakfast means more hunger later. To lose weight, ditch the cereal.

Continually spiking blood sugar and insulin by eating breakfast cereal, bagels, or other high-carb or sugary food leads to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and premature aging. To quote Dr. Georgia Ede, “Simply put, refined carbohydrates cause brain damage.”

The perfect recipe for acne

I recently wrote about acne, what causes it, and how to get rid of it. In brief, it’s all about the food, in particular, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and milk.

Some teenagers practically live on bowls of sugar-sweetened cereal, and acne is rife among them. Breakfast cereal is a perfect recipe for acne. Ditch the cereal for a great improvement in your skin.

Eggs: a healthy breakfast

The medical and nutritional establishment has demonized eggs for decades as an unhealthy food that causes heart disease.

They were wrong.

Eggs are about as close to a perfect food as you can get, loaded with protein and healthy fat. They are low in carbohydrates and therefore do not spike blood sugar or insulin.

The studies on bagels for breakfast cited above used eggs as a comparison group — those eating eggs ate hundreds of calories less during the subsequent 24 hours.

Eggs for breakfast enhances weight loss, with those doing so losing 65% more weight than those eating bagels.3

In fact, other than eating fewer carbohydrates, my number one tip for weight loss is to eat eggs for dinner too. Verified by me personally. Eggs fill you up much more than just about any food.

If you must have a snack, hard-boiled eggs are the way to go. Eat one or two and you’ll find yourself skipping the next meal.

So ditch the breakfast cereal, the bagels and donuts, the smoothies, and eat eggs instead.

Coffee for breakfast

Coffee is one of the healthiest things you can drink. Coffee is associated with lower death rates.

Coffee improves insulin sensitivity and promotes autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process that rids cells of junk and that’s vitally important to slowing aging.

Coffee is loaded with polyphenols.

In reality, coffee is just a liquid form of fruits and vegetables, since it’s made from a plant.

So have coffee with your eggs for breakfast too, and you’ll be streets ahead in health compared to those other people eating sugar and refined carbs.

Coffee makes a great breakfast all on its own as well. I often have nothing but a cup of coffee when I get up, and maybe another cup at mid-morning, and don’t eat until noon.

Coffee is the great enabler of intermittent fasting. It decreases hunger and raises energy levels.

Is breakfast really that important?

We’ve been bombarded with propaganda to the effect that we must eat when we get up in the morning.

Consider that most of the research showing that breakfast is important has been sponsored by Kellogg’s and other food manufacturers. That fact casts considerable doubt on the validity of breakfast being important.

Breakfast foods are hugely profitable. Food companies put cheap refined carbohydrates and sugar into a box with a picture on it and sell it for top dollar. Of course they want everyone eating their food for breakfast.

People who regularly skip breakfast have lower medical claims than those who eat breakfast.4 See the following chart.

breakfast-skippers

Since eating typical breakfast food spikes blood glucose and insulin and makes people eat more later, it’s hard to see how eating breakfast can be so important or healthy.

In reality, many people (like myself) are not very hungry in the morning. Forcing yourself to eat when you don’t feel like it isn’t a good idea for your waistline or your health.

Conclusion

Ditch the breakfast cereal, bagels, donuts, granola bars, and other high-carbohydrate, sugar-laden food for breakfast.

Skip the breakfast foods they want you to eat and see a big improvement in your waistline and your health.

If you’re hungry, eat eggs — have some bacon with it too. Coffee is a healthy addition.

Or if you’re not hungry, drink a cup of coffee, and that’s your breakfast.

Breakfast is not necessary. But if you want it, it’s perfectly fine, so long as you don’t eat the garbage that the food companies are peddling.

PS: Besides changing your breakfast habits, try the most healthful exercise there is, as discussed in my book, Muscle Up.

PPS: Check out my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.

Subscribe and get my free book on fat loss

 

  1.  Ratliff, Joseph, et al. “Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men.” Nutrition Research 30.2 (2010): 96-103.
  2.  Vander Wal, Jillon S., et al. “Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition24.6 (2005): 510-515.
  3.  Vander Wal, J. S., et al. “Egg breakfast enhances weight loss.” International Journal of Obesity 32.10 (2008): 1545-1551.
  4.  Zilberter, Tanya, and Eugene Yuri Zilberter. “Breakfast: to skip or not to skip?.” Frontiers in public health 2 (2014).
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13 comments
The Truth About Breakfast | Technology and Longevity Feed says September 18, 2016

[…] Original Article: The Truth About Breakfast […]

Reply
Kindke says September 18, 2016

really hit the nail here, I dont really believe in breakfast either and am rarely hungry in morning. food in general is encumbering and sedating, why on earth would I want to induce that on myself first thing in morning when im feeling most energetic and productive.

my favorite time to exercise IS first thing in morning, when energy levels are peaked.

and ofcourse the breakfast thing is turned into a disaster by having tons of carbs there. The circadian rhythm of cortisol is elevated most in morning, this is probably WHY most people feel not hungry and energetic then, and cortisol makes you insulin resistant, not a good time to be flooding your blood with glucose.

Reply
JP says September 18, 2016

When I went low carb, the first thing I did was eliminate breakfast cereal, bread, and pasta. Boom, 25 pounds came off and stayed off.

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Laguna Beach Fogey says September 18, 2016

Well said. I’m a proponent of a good breakfast: eggs, bacon or sausage, and tea. It’s amazing to me the number of people who don’t eat breakfast, who think having a proper meal in the morning is odd. Of course, these are the same people who complain around 10AM that they are “starving” and go get a bagel or doughnut. After breakfast, I usually don’t eat again until 1PM or so, and then I skip dinner. If I get hungry later I grab a handful of almonds or pistachio nuts. Breakfast remains my favourite meal of the day. On a ‘cheat day’ I might go Full English.

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Stuart Mather says September 18, 2016

Hi P.D,
How many eggs /day is ‘overdoing’ it do you think? I keep reading that 2 is the ideal number, but I’d eat 4 easily . I love them, but then I also love Oreo cookies. I know the cholesterol in them is actually healthy, but what can you get too much of a good thing ? . And what number of eggs/ day is too many? No choesterol issues on months of 5 eggs / d. And even the avidin biotin fixing caution with raw whites is nonsense apparently (as long as you eat the yolks too, which contain more than 4 times the biotin as is fix’ed by the avidin in the raw white).
How many eggs/d do YOU eat typically ?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 19, 2016

    Hi Stuart – Actually, I don’t think it’s possible to overdo eggs. Since I don’t believe that total serum cholesterol matters for heart disease, raising it – if indeed eggs do that, which they don’t, or not always – doesn’t matter either. There’s a report in the literature of an old man who liked to eat nothing but eggs and was eating 25 a day, and nothing was wrong with him.

    Typically, I eat up to 6 a day. Last couple of days were hectic, didn’t have time for a regular dinner, so I had eggs for dinner too. But I wouldn’t balk at eating a dozen a day.

    The parameters that matter are HDL and triglycerides. Eggs will raise the former (good) and lower the latter (also good).

    Reply
      Stuart Mather says September 19, 2016

      Yes I read about that long term 25 eggs/d bloke. Amazing Eggs are just so easy to prepare (crack the shell , eat if time is short) . It’s interesting that even the sites that accept that the cholesterol myth is just that still baulk at more than 3 a day.
      One last question though , you don’t worry about the arachidonic acid factor?. Or is it too healthy?
      What is the purported risk of arachidonic acid anyway?

      Reply
        P. D. Mangan says September 20, 2016

        Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fat, and the theory is that causes inflammation. But whole eggs in themselves dampen inflammation. Free range eggs would be better, but even there, the chickens eat grain, so while you get more beta carotene in the eggs, the fatty acid compositiuon isn’t all that different from commercial eggs. In short, I don’t worry about arachidonic acid wither.

        ” It’s interesting that even the sites that accept that the cholesterol myth is just that still baulk at more than 3 a day.” Yeah, that’s funny. You still see on sites that accept that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease, “don’t overdo it”. It’s like a kid whose just overcoming his fear of the dark. In contrast, I believe saturated fat is among the healthiest things you can eat.

        Reply
vincent says September 19, 2016

fascinating point of view about coffee being a drinkable plants and vegetables. I never considered that before. It’s true, eating breakfast really doesn’t matter. Everything will always come down to calories in vs calories out.
No matter how many fad diets come out, this will always be an unbreakable law. If you want to eat breakfast, fine, but watch your macros. If you don’t want to eat it, same thing.

The most important piece is to try multiple different programs, and find the one that works for you the best. Since no one is equal, there is no one size fits all approach. You must find what is the most tolerable for you.

Reply
    Stuart Mather says September 19, 2016

    a particular energy surplus will result in vastly different weight gain for different individuals . Some people just absorb calories from food differently . Saying calorie excess will result in weight gain might be true,, but it is pretty useless. I”ve always eaten vast amounts of food -far, far more than most people eat. I’m not particularly active,,, nor a very big male. I just don’t seem to absorb energy from the food I eat very efficiently.
    And the really iimportant thing is, I don’t think it’s particularly healthy. Somebody who can ‘eat like a horse’ and never gain weight like me is an evolutionary mistake. don’t you think?
    We like efficient cars why not efficient bodies too?
    I’m a gas guzzler I’m afraid. Many ”naturally slim’ people are. Might make me look better naked, but it all too often means that although all the normal health markers are stellar, it’s not a good way to be.
    ‘What you want is to eat sparingly and of nutrient dense food and find that satisfies hunger and body composition goals don’t you? I only eat food that maximizes health/longevity , but it’s very easy for me (and many others) to eat a bucket load absolute crap and never gain weight. I have done so , far too often , at various times of my life.
    Some people are just naturally slim, whatever they eat. No idea why. Something to do with your microbiome probably – which involves epigenetic (not genetic) factors we still have no clue about. And may not for hundreds of years.

    Reply
MW says October 11, 2016

I work as a tradesman the work being either physically demanding, mentally (troubleshooting) or both. Personally I can’t live without breakfast.

On mornings where I’m organized, I’ll eat two eggs, 4 slices of bacon plus a bowl of steamed vegetables, mostly cabbage, broccoli, beets and carrots. Sometimes a green salad with nuts and seeds on top. Plus a coffee or two and about half a litre of water.
By the time lunch rolls around six hours later, I’m usually starving, I’ve snacked on some nuts and raisins beforehand. Sometimes I’ll get a splitting headache as well. And I don’t seem to gain wight but don’t lose any either

Reply
Coffee, Whiskey, and Cigars Longevity Diet - Rogue Health and Fitness says February 8, 2017

[…] I”m beginning to think that drinking coffee and whiskey and smoking cigars is healthier than eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk for breakfast. Not that the former is so great, but compare it to the alternative that most people have for breakfast. […]

Reply
MBPlayboy says February 8, 2017

Cool article Mangan, in latin america you meet plenty of ole’ men or women like that.
About breakfast: I see a lot of people recommending to skip it.

In my experience it depends whether you really can stand it or not, if you have a lot of trouble with skipping it, just fast from lunch to next day’s breakfast or so. Been like this for a year and it’s great. Obviously eat healthy stuff!!

Cheers

Reply
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