Myth-buster: Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Posted by Dr. Rick on Feb 10th 2019

What's the most important meal of the day?

Breakfast of Omelet, Toast and Fruit

Breakfast, of course! Or is it?

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that we should eat the first thing in the morning. But the truth is that for most people waiting a few hours to "break the fast" after waking up can be more beneficial to your health.

The catch is that you can’t implement this practice and derive its benefits until you train your body to burn fat as opposed to sugar (simple carbohydrates). Otherwise, you'll be setting the stage for food cravings, fatigue, and poor concentration because your blood sugar will be low. Sugar burners are required to eat carbohydrates every few hours to maintain a steady blood sugar level, which keeps the hunger and food cravings at bay.

When you become fat adapted (e.g. your body recognizes and utilizes fat as its preferred fuel), you'll find that you won't always be hungry in the morning; you may even feel more energetic and focused when you wait a few hours to eat. Here's why ...

Truth #1

One gram of carbohydrate provides four calories; one gram of fat provides nine. The human body can only store about 300 grams (3/4 of a pound) of carbohydrates as glycogen at any given time. It can store many pounds of fat.

Truth #2

When you are fat-adapted, your body’s metabolic engine works more like a fire burning logs instead of paper. Fueled by fat, your energy production system will run longer, stronger and cleaner. And every other system in your body will benefit from having a consistent, reliable source of energy that can be generated with a minimal amount of metabolic waste (which is similar in many ways to the ash created by burning paper). Less metabolic waste means lower levels of internal inflammation—the underlying cause of almost every modern, chronic disease—which also can lead to better overall health.

Are you a fat burner? Ask yourself these five simple questions:

  1. Can I go four to five hours without eating? Or does skipping a meal cause me to suffer from ravenous hunger, anxiety, headaches, "brain fog," or other common symptoms of low blood sugar?
  2. Do I enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day? Or do I experience peaks and valleys that leave me longing for a nap?
  3. Can I exercise in a fasted state (in the morning prior to eating); or exercise for an hour or more without relying on the use of carbohydrate-based foods or drinks? 
  4. Am I relatively unconcerned about losing body fat? Or do I need to maintain high and constant levels of exercise to stay lean? 
  5. Are my blood sugar, blood pressure, and/or cholesterol levels within an optimal range, without the use of any medication? 

You CAN train your body to burn healthy fats.

Transforming yourself into a fat burner who enjoys consistently strong mental and physical energy will likely require a significant reduction in your sugar and grain intake, and a significant increase in your intake of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut products, olive oil, almonds and macadamia nuts, whole eggs, and grass-fed butter. And in small increments, begin to delay eating your most important meal of the day. Most people eventually find that they can wait 15 to 17 hours after their last, evening meal. If you finish eating dinner at 8 PM, for example, you wouldn't eat again until 11 AM to 1 PM the next day. 

In years past, when I ate many grains, I would be ravenous in the morning and hungry soon after breakfast, even when I polished off an entire pot of steel cut oats. These days, I don’t eat until about noon. And I don't always eat because I'm hungry. I will, however, begin to notice a slight loss of focus, or a find myself a bit less resilient when working through my daily tasks.

Listen to your body.

Eat breakfast when you are hungry or notice a dip in your energy and/or focus. Eat sooner and have more carbohydrates if you have been (very) physically active or under a lot of mental or emotional stress.