You’ve heard and read phrases saying ‘you are what you eat’ but how much thought do you put into those words? Do you believe them? Because you really should.
You might argue that some of your friends are as skinny as ever yet they eat all the pastries, burgers, and pizzas they can get. But, how do you explain the weight you have gained since you started taking three or even four bagels by lunch or since you started having junk food behind your desk five or 6 days a week?
While our metabolic rates differ, whatever you eat from the time you wake up will eventually determine your weight as well as the appearance of your arteries and the composition of your blood.
The only way to get on the right track, besides sweating it out is by eating well, right from the moment we wake up. Keep in mind that healthy weight depends on your diet more than the efforts you put in the gym.
So, let’s look at what we should and should not do to start the day well and to lead a healthy lifestyle.
First, don’t eat immediately after you wake up.
Wait for at least one hour before you eat. Giving yourself an hour ensures that your blood sugar is regulated and your blood insulin levels are well regulated to kickstart your metabolism. Immediately after waking up, you have high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and the levels of the hormone drop significantly within the first hour after waking. Since cortisol stimulates an increase in the insulin and blood sugar levels which make weight loss harder, you should consider waiting an hour or so before eating.
What not to eat in the morning
Though a breakfast staple in most American homes, breakfast cereal is a terrible idea.
Contrary to what manufacturers have made us believe, the cereals are not healthy whole grains rich in vitamins, fiber, and mineral but highly processed cereals with the lowest concentration of whole grains. Also, these cereals are full or artificial nutrients and unhealthy sugars. Also, cereals contain highly refined rather than whole grains and sugars. So, taking into account fortification and the refining process, the cereals are the perfect recipe for type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic ailments.
Also, the cereals will not keep you full for long, and you’ll most likely look for a bagel or a donut before lunch.
It’s safe to say that our breakfast options are very unsafe. It turns out that the refined flour in bread has little fiber and it contributes to diabetes by causing insulin resistance because it causes a spike in blood glucose levels. The elevation of the blood sugar levels will result in rebound hunger that forces you to eat more, hence weight gain.
There’s also the issue of margarine. Most of the margarine on the market are full of unhealthy trans fats. Trans fats are responsible for cellular inflammation and an increased risk of disease.
Waffles and pancakes
These are common breakfast options for most families, especially over the weekend. They are tasty, and most of us live for pancakes and waffles, right? However, we should consider cutting down intake of these pastries despite the protein from eggs and milk because of the use of highly refined flour.
The problem with the flour is that it contributes to insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and obesity. Wondering how? Well, the flour causes a spike in the blood glucose levels which results in the production of insulin in high concentration. With time, insulin is unable to control the blood sugars causing the disease. Also, all the extra sugars from starch are deposited as fat resulting in obesity and other health conditions.
Is corn syrup bad? Yes. Though they make those pancakes/ waffles heavenly, the high-fructose corn syrup causes inflammation increasing the risk of insulin resistance and causing type II diabetes or prediabetes.
If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthily, know that the fruit juice next to the produce display cooler is one of the worst things you could have in your body. Why?
First, the juices are full of sweeteners, and most of them have high-fructose corn syrup. These concentrations of sugars predispose you to type II diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.
Also, the high concentrations of sugars cause a spike in blood glucose because the juice lacks fiber necessary for slowed absorption. So, taking juice in the morning will leave you feeling hungry, shaky, and tired.
Sweetened fat-free yogurt
If you have to take yogurt in the morning, opt for a whole bowl of plain or even whole milk Greek yogurt with berries rather than a fat-free and sweetened yogurt.
The fat-free yogurt has more sugar than a serving of ice cream, and it will cause an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar levels. Also, being fat-free makes that yogurt bad for you because it will leave you hungry.
You need whole-milk yogurt or Greek yogurt because the fat in these alternatives is healthy and it will keep you fuller for longer, in comparison to eating carbs. Also, the fats in the yogurt will stimulate the release of cholecystokinin which is a fullness hormone.
Gluten-free and processed foods
Even though the number of people taking gluten-free foods is on the rise, it should be noted that the said gluten-free foods have a high glycemic index which results in the steep elevation in your blood sugar levels which results in high insulin concentrations in blood, as well as rebound hunger; most likely countered with more sugary foods.
Bananas are not bad. In fact, they make the healthiest of fruits. However, you should not eat bananas immediately after waking up because they are carb-heavy with about 25 percent of sugars. So, just like bread, the sugars in that banana will cause a spike in blood glucose, as well as insulin.
If you have to eat bananas in the morning, accompany it with some protein or healthy fats to slow down the rate at which the sugars are released into the blood.
Granola bars, scones with cream and jam, toaster pastries, muffins, store-bought sandwiches, and bread are the other foods you should not eat in the morning, especially on an empty stomach.
What to eat in the morning
- Eggs – they are rich in antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin), choline for the brain and liver, and they are also rich in good cholesterol/ HDL which improves insulin sensitivity
- Greek Yogurt – It’ll keep you fuller for more hours, it has thermic effects of increasing metabolism, and it has conjugated linoleic acid that activates fat burning. It’s also a great source of probiotics.
- Coffee – caffeine will boost your mood, improve alertness/ performance, boost metabolism, and activate fat burning. It’s also rich in antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
- Oatmeal – It’s rich in fiber called beta-glucan which reduced cholesterol, keeps you full, and it has antioxidants.
- Chia Seeds – it is rich in fiber, and it absorbs water increasing the volume of water, keeping you full for a longer tie, in the process.
- Berries – The berries are low in sugars and high in fiber, antioxidants, and anthocyanins.
You can also eat nuts, a protein shake, green tea, flaxseeds, fresh fruits, and cottage cheese.