I hope we can skip the discussion about needing breakfast here. It does still amaze me how many people skip breakfast. Not enough time. Not hungry. Trying to cut calories. However, with new patients coming into my office, I can say that few actually were eating an appropriate breakfast if they were even eating it. Most are under the mistaken impression that something like Cheerios, Special K or oatmeal constitutes a good breakfast.
First, before we cover what a good breakfast consists of, let’s again stress just how darn important it is. This particular study takes an interesting look at what happens to our physiology when we skip breakfast. Researchers had participants divided into a breakfast (B) and no-breakfast (NB) group, then, 2.5 hours later, gave them a liquid drink. Those in the NB group had all around worse response in their blood to the drink than those who did eat breakfast (higher sugar, higher insulin, higher fats, lower GLP, more calories at lunch).
Basically, skipping breakfast sent the participants physiology into a tailspin towards diabetes. Pretty darn impressive for a single meal, huh? Imagine when it is a pattern of lifestyle.
Now, on to the “what” portion of breakfast. It should come as no surprise that dairy, refined carbs and artificial colors/flavors are off the list. So this rules out the Special K cereals and pretty much 98% of what the big confectionery companies (Kellogg’s, Quaker, Nabisco, Kraft) produce.
I always steer patients towards a very high fiber (8+ grams) or protein based breakfast. That means real peanut butter on true whole grain bread. Omega 3 eggs cooked in olive oil. A handful of nuts. There are some very high quality cereals made by Kashi, Amy’s, Nature’s Path, etc, that meet the high fiber qualification. Just add one of the many nut milks available (soy, hazelnut, almond, rice, hemp, etc…) instead of dairy.
You should note that this rules out all but the highest quality oatmeals. Your typical “instant” oatmeals are not going to provide this high of a level of fiber and likely contain lots of added sugars. You could, however, do a plain oatmeal and add in your own cinnamon, nuts and / or granola to improve the value.
Either way, careful attention to breakfast is absolutely critical towards a lifetime of diabetes avoidance and maintaining ideal body composition.