Why Breakfast Makes You Fat

I’ll go on record to say that breakfast sucks. It, in my opinion, is the LEAST important meal of the day.

I’ll put it in bold letters…

BREAKFAST SUCKS

 

Oh boy, I’m sure I made some people mad. I can hear some of the criticism now…

Other trainers are saying: “WTF! That’s heresy!Breakfast makes you Fat - Fitness Revolution Rowlett

People: “But isn’t it the most important meal of the day?! This guy is weird… come on Stacey lets go eat a bagel and walk on the treadmill.” 😉

Do any of your know where the idea of breakfast orientated from? We grew up taught that breakfast was the most important meal of the day but who started that and WHY? Our parents? Who told them? Where did the idea of breakfast orientate from?

First the word breakfast just means “break-fast” duh I know, but wouldn’t that mean that your first meal AFTER sleep, no matter what time, is breakfast? What if I work a night shift get up at 4pm and my first meal is at 5, is that breakfast or dinner? What is I wake up at 8am and eat 30min later, is that breakfast? Or if I were to wake up and not eat till 3-4 hours later… is that breakfast? All of them are yes, breakfast just means “breaking your fast” no matter what time of the day you eat… its breakfast. In today’s society we have labeled that word as strictly a morning meal when in all reality it can be at any time.

Ok so why they hell did I tell you all that? Well it’s to get your mind in a different concept that the idea of breakfast is just your first meal of the day, whenever it may be, and NOT strictly a morning time ritual.  BUT… for this blog for fear of confusing you I’ll be referring to breakfast as your meal that is consumed within an hour upon waking.

So why am I such a breakfast hater?

Let me specify one more time before I turn nerd on you, our definition of breakfast for this blog is food that is consumed within an hour upon waking.

One response that you’ll hear on the breakfast conundrum is that breakfast helps speed up or jump start the metabolism early in the day. Heck at one point in time I swore up and down myself that was true but as I did more research I found studies that showed there was NO difference in the speed of the metabolism for people that skipped breakfast, people that ate 7 meals a day or just two meals a day. (5) (6)

Well… so much for eating every 3 hours

Another response I typically get: “What about jump starting your brain in the morning?” Well there is a small degree of truth to that. There have been studies conducted on children that show they do better on basic skills test when they eat breakfast vs. skipping it. In all honesty that makes sense because they are still developing. What about adults? I did not find any “beyond a reasonable doubt” that eating breakfast improved brain function in fact I found studies that pretty much showed there is no difference in brain function on a skills test for those that did eat breakfast vs. those that did not or even those that did not eat for 24hrs. (7)

Well then there goes the argument that you get dumber if you don’t eat. (Let the jokes begin!)

So far I have yet to find any proof that states a person MUST eat breakfast in order to complete basic task and let alone fire up that metabolism for fat burning. A rule of thumb to remember is that when you eat you then go into a insulin dominate metabolism (no fat burn) BUT when you fast you go into a growth hormone (GH) dominate metabolism (fat burn). So when you eat first thing in the morning you body loses some of it best time to burn fat.

 

Breakfast makes you fat - Fitness Revolution RowlettWhat is Growth Hormone and why should you care?

When our body is asleep, for those of you who know what sleep is lol, this is its time for the body to sit and work on itself. One of the many hormones that is elevated during deep sleep is growth hormone.

Growth Hormone (GH) is what I consider one of the Holy Grail hormones that is responsible for keeping a body lean and muscular during times when calories are sparse. You may have heard a lot of this hormone in the press today because many of top level athletes and celebrities have been taking this due to its muscle building, fat loss and anti-aging properties. This stuff is legit and the higher the amount, within reason, the faster you drop fat and gain muscle… pretty much what we all want.

GH is important for blood sugar regulation while you are fasting (sleep is an example) and this is what keeps your blood sugar levels stable and one of the reasons why you don’t lose muscle mass during a fast as well. To sum it up it helps your body burn FAT while you’re in a fasted state (4). So the sum it up when your fasting your body as nothing to burn but body fat, growth hormone helps with this, and when I say “helps”  mean it shreds you up!

GH is also tied into the aging process. As we get older our GH levels begin to decline and thus we develop more insulin sensitivity this leads to weight gain and muscle loss as we age. Now when GH levels are high, epically at a later age, we tend to look younger, healthier and fitter. What examples? Just Google some really fit older celebrities… SOME are doing and living the lifestyle. BUT most everyone else, let’s say has some “help”.

You may be thinking at this time “Well why don’t I just go take a GH supplement?” If it were only that easy.

Research has shown that fasting helps make the body sensitive to GH’s properties, NOT dieting… big difference. So if your dieting, very low calories, and begin injecting GH into your system you will only get a fraction of its benefits. I bet your still thinking “well that’s ok I’ll just take a lot”. Here is what I’ll say in response… good luck affording it. I’ve talked with a number of guys that have confided in me that were injecting the levels of GH that it took to notice the effects that people are looking for and it gets EXPENSIVE, it’s not uncommon for them to be dropping several thousand a month on this stuff, and you have to hope that what your injecting is good and NOT something created in a meth lab.

PLUS… GH that’s injected typically needs to be done with other hormones to get the additional effects of it, so you really need to know your stuff. To me it’s just not worth the cost and the risk.

So this where sleep and fasting come in. Growth hormone causes more fat loss during a fasted state (sleep is an example) than when injected (1). So you need to be fasting, again NOT dieting, to get GH’s full effects (2).

So we can acknowledge that GH has some pretty awesome benefits to the body but that injecting it is probably out of the question, here is where IF comes to save the day. Research has shown that fasting can result in up to a six fold increase in GH levels in the body (3).

Just to state that again in big bold letters:

 

FASTING CAN RESULT IN A SIX FOLD INCREASE IN GH LEVELS

 

So all those GH levels that people pay thousands of dollars worth a month you are getting FREE with just periods of fasting… heck its pretty damn cool to me, I get to save money and get what others are paying for lol.

This is where skipping your early morning feeding (“breakfast”) can come into handy, when your sleeping your GH levels are at some of their highest and do you know what blunts GH secretion in the body? Take a guess… Food. Food, blunts the GH secretion process and then you become what we call in an insulin dominate metabolism, and insulin dominance is probably one of the reasons that we body fat issues as it is.

Now if we know that GH levels are primarily elevated during sleep and during fasting, so it makes sense to prolong our gymnast - Breakfast will make you fat - Fitness Revolution Rowlettfirst feeding (“breakfast”) as long as possible to get maximal benefits of GH levels in the body to continue to be in a fat burning state.

Side note: Do you know the other time when GH levels are at the highest in the body? During exercise. So we have three primary times in the day when we get GH benefits, during sleep, fasting and exercise. All which I’m pretty sure we can contribute to a good healthy life style that can promote fat loss.

I will say that GH is NOT the fat loss lottery ticket and our goal should NOT to be in a GH dominate state ALL the time, come on we do have to eat to maintain a life style as well. Just like anything else TOO much of one thing can have some detrimental consequences as well, case in point: being in an insulin dominate state because we are eating all the time, but fasting for too long (my opinion would be 5 consecutive days) would just as bad.

You may not see an overnight body fat drop but you WILL notice a steady state of fat loss and a noticeable body composition change week by week.

Skipping our early morning meal time is just one way that I recommend prolonging our IF times to take maximal benefits of our body’s natural hormonal regulation to promote a fat loss state.

 

What I do

People ask me all the time what I do since I’m a practitioner of not eating early in the morning and I’m known to work out in a fasted state so here is what my typical morning looks like.

  • 7AM: Wake up and drink 5G of BCAAs with 5G of glutamine
  • 12:30 PM Drink 10G of BCAAs, 5G of Glutamine, pre-workout (zero calorie)
  • 1PM Workout (still no food)
  • 2:30pm Eat

My first meal is usually at 2-3PM and I workout in a complete fasted state. Why? Well if you’ve read any of the blogs so far then you’ll notice that I’m attempting to maximize GH secretion by extending my fast till I workout. I feel that if you extended your fast all the way till the workout then you are creating the “perfect storm” for fat loss.

 

I don’t take the credit for creating this system the two people that I follow that eat, breath and sleep fasting protocols are

Brand Pilon of Eat Stop Eat <=== Real into the science of WHY this works

Mark Berkan of LeanGains <=== Some pretty impressive transformations here

 

What’s surprised me when I first did this was how much energy I had in my workouts (I just started the pre-workout in the past several months) and I did see a noticeable difference in my leanness in one week skipping breakfast and working out fasted.

Is this something that I recommend to everyone? No, just because part of fat loss plan is finding what works best for YOUR body and YOUR lifestyle. I can say though that it doesn’t hurt to try… I mean what do you have to lose? Besides unwanted body fat of course 😉

I will say though, that the clients that have learned to adopt a fasting protocol are typically the ones that have lost the most amount of body fat in a fairly quick time frame. Heck, I use this and I’ve gotten noticeably leaner, stronger and you’re going to hate me when I say this… I hardly do cardio 😛

 

Conclusion

The beautiful thing about skipping breakfast is that you can start this tomorrow morning, its that simple. If you feel that you are one of those individuals that will get sick if you don’t eat I sympathize with you and my recommendation is that you prolong breakfast (or your first meal) as long as possible. You’ll notice that over time your body will begin to adapt and get use to not needing food upon waking and after a while you will even manage to go all the way till lunch time.

Ok so this thing has turned into a beast, lol, so I need to end it on this note. If you have any questions or concerns about this just e-mail me and I’ll be more than happy to answer in any way I can.

Eat Stop Eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

  1.        Moller L, Dalman L, Norrelund H, Billestrup N, Frystyk J, Moller N, and Jorgensen JOL. Impact of fasting on growth hormone signaling and action in muscle and fat. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2009;4: 965-972.
  2.       Kanaley JA, Weatherup-Dentes MM, Jaynes EB, Hartman ML. Obesity attenuates the growth hormone response to exercise. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism. 1999;84:3156-3161.
  3.        Vendelbo MH, Jorgensen JO, Pedersen SB, Gormsen LC, Lund S, Schmitz O, Jessen N, and Moller N. Exercise and fasting activate growth hormone-dependent myocellular signal transducer and Activator of transcription-5b phosphorylation and Insulin-like growth factor-1
  4.       Norrelund H. The metabolic role of growth hormone in humans with particular reference to fasting. Growth Hormone and IGF research. 2005;15:95-122.
  5.      Verboeket-Van De Venne WPHG, et al. Effect of the pattern of food intake on human energy metabolism. British Journal of Nutrition. 1993; 70:103-115
  6.       Bellisle F, et al. Meal Frequency and energy balance. British Journal of Nutrition. 1997; 77: (Suppl. 1) s57-s70
  7.       Green MW, Elliman NA, Rogers, PJ. Lack of effect of short-term fasting on cognitive function. Journal of Psychiatric Research 1995; 29(3), 245-253.


In Health and Awesomness,

 

 
 

Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, CES, RBT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future blog posts.

PLEASE CLICK THE “LIKE” BUTTON, POST A COMMENT AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS…


Comments

  1. interesting, i’m so fed up with these “eat every three hours” diets or forcing myself to have breakfast when i’m not hungry at all… i’ll have to try it out

Speak Your Mind

*

WE HAVE MOVED!

CLICK BELOW TO GO TO OUR NEW WEBSITE

WE HAVE MOVED!

CLICK BELOW TO GO TO OUR NEW WEBSITE