Carbs In The Morning
As a dude who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s I was witness to countless television commercials telling me that (enter sugary cereal) was part of a complete breakfast.
Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast with a pad of butter, yogurt with berries, bananas, orange juice, tea, and oh ya.. the fucking cereal the ad was for in the first place!
I still remember looking at those images of the complete breakfast and thinking, “who eats that?”
I couldn’t even imagine some kid somewhere eating a meal fit for a king within an hour of waking up.
For me, breakfast was nothing more than a bowl of that sugary cereal with some cow jizz, pasteurized milk.
Even back then I was enough of a little A-hole to know that something wasn’t right with that much food first thing in the morning.
Now that I’m a fully-grown A-Hole I cringe at the thought that someone ate like that.
While I have many critiques of carbs, including the blanket label of carbs, they do have their place.
I don’t believe that carbs are
But the wrong types of carbs certainly are.
There are plenty of carbs that are harmful to your health.
But other carbs like fruits, starchy vegetables, and legumes definitely have their place in a healthy diet.
When people get fanatical about this low carb craze, they throw the fiber and vitamin-rich baby out with the sugary bath water.
Cut out your daily bagel, but don’t avoid oranges.
Stiff arm the office birthday cake, but definitely add in sweet potatoes.
But no matter what you do with your carbs, even if you go with the healthy ones, avoid them first thing in the morning.
Carbs And Cortisol
The morning is no doubt the worst time to put any type of carbohydrate in your body.
The main reason is
The term “cortisol” is hot right now because everyone knows it as the stress hormone.
That is very true.
We should all be trying to lower our stress as it is the number one cause of chronic disease.
The problem with a blanket demonization of cortisol is that it’s not all bad.
Cortisol Our Protector
Cortisol has a purpose in your body
Side note- most functions in your body, be they good or bad, are there for a reason. This includes all the organs your doctor wants to cut out of you. Your appendix, gallbladder, tonsils, all serve a very specific purpose.
Cortisol is no different.
It’s an ancient mechanism that took millions to evolve for survival purposes.
When we were savage cave-bros out there in the wild cortisol is what helped us run from predators.
Our eyes would identify danger, send a signal to our hypothalamus, who sent a signal to the pituitary gland which sent a hormone called ACTH to our adrenal glands that shit was about to get real!
The adrenal glands would get the ACTH and know that it was now time to pump cortisol into the blood stream.
Cortisol made our body’s autonomic nervous system switch from parasympathetic to sympathetic.
It’s like an alarm that tells your body, “wake up bitch! We gotta survive!”
It’s in this sympathetic nervous that our instincts take over and we become survivors.
In this example, savage cave-bro would make a split second decision.
I’m either gonna run from this lion, or I’m going to punch it right in the face.
The other important thing to know about cortisol is that it’s highest in the morning.
The beauty of cortisol is that evolved to coincide with our body’s circadian rhythm.
Somehow, our brains realized that we need to be ready to survive the most first thing in the morning.
We need to get up, find food and start the day.
So cortisol comes in like your roommate’s annoying alarm clock and gets you up and ready to survive.
Then throughout the day it gradually lowers so that come night time it’s the lowest so you can fall asleep.
What Cortisol Does In Your Body
The biological purpose of cortisol is to make glucose available in your body.
Cortisol frees up stored glycogen in your liver and gets it into the blood stream.
Once glucose is in your blood stream, your pancreas secretes insulin to get it into your cells.
Glucose is basically sugar.
Glucose is the most fast-acting form of nutrition our cells use to make ATP.. which is a fancy way of saying energy.
This would make sense since you’re about to drop kick a lion, you need something that gives you an immediate jolt.
Cortisol And Breakfast
Nowadays, unless you’re living in one of the few hunter-gatherer tribes in the world… and if you are thank you for somehow connecting to the internet to read this… you’re not using cortisol to submit an AM predator.
The problem is that it’s still there in the morning.. and it’s going to effect how your body metabolizes the food you eat for breakfast.
If you eat carbs in the morning, even the good ones, you’re adding an extra burden of glucose to your body.
Remember how cortisol is making glucose available anyways?
It does this to put glucose back into your blood after insulin has come and cleared it out of your blood.
You always have about a teaspoon of glucose in your blood which is your fasting blood glucose.
Some people have more and some people have less. The more you have the more at risk for diabetes you are.
Because cortisol is highest in the morning, you will get a higher dose of glucose in your blood after you eat a carb-rich breakfast.
This is where the problems come in.
Your muscle cells and liver have reached their capacity to store the glucose from the food you ate.
The excess glucose is sent to the liver where it’s turned into triglycerides and then stored as fat.
This happens in conjunction with your muscle cells resisting the insulin and glucose like you pretending to not be home when Jehovah Witnesses knock on your door.
In other words, you’ve created insulin resistance and now more easily stor the glucose in your blood as fat.
And because cortisol is most powerful in the morning, sugar and carbs for breakfast will create fat and insulin resistance more than any other meal.
What To Eat For Breakfast
On top of all the other problems with the SAD American diet, it’s become normal to eat carbs for breakfast.
And by carbs I mean, the most sugary, starchy, addicting foods available.
Sugary cereals, croissants, donuts, bagels, muffins, Gogurt, granola, toast, waffles, pancakes, french toast.. my blood sugar is crashing just thinking about these treats.
If you want to lose weight your best bet is to avoid each of the above items first thing in the day.
Especially if your diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Instead, opt for high fat and protein.
This will help you stabilize your cortisol and blood sugar.
Protein shakes are my personal number one go-to.
Add a scoop of whey or veggie protein to water with some coconut oil or even grass-fed butter.
Spice it up with other ingredients of your choosing.
Add veggies, nuts, seeds, maca powder, spirulina.. you can really be as creative as you’d like.
Even adding a little fruit is ok, but keep it minimal. A handful of berries, a half banana, a tiny slice of papaya won’t do a lot of damage and can give you plenty of good nutrition.
Eggs and bacon are great. Just make sure they meet all the hippie-dippy standards of pasture raised and nitrite free. Sustainable, well-raised food is always better and
Plain yogurt with some protein powder mixed in is good too.
No matter what you choose make sure it is free from sugar and processed ingredients.
Feel Better Throughout The Day
Avoiding sugar and stabilizing cortisol in the morning will not only help you feel better in the morning, but even throughout the day.
Cortisol is a hormone. So is insulin.
Along with their physical implications, they also affect your mental health.
Those feelings of depression and anxiety can be supercharged with cortisol dysregulation.
By using fat and protein in the morning, you can stabilize those hormones and your emotions.
When your blood sugar goes on a cortisol roller coaster so does your brain
Take control of your mind and your body by simply staying away from carbs in the morning.
Even if they part of the SAD American diet’s complete breakfast.