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The Breakfast Myth (Part 1)
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December 8, 2012
11:13 am
Lisa L.
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I take issue with the typical breakfast served at the local schools. My daughter can always have cereal and then the choices include cinnamon rolls, pancakes and syrup, french toast and syrup, waffles and syrup, toast, and rarely sausages and eggs. This is what our children are fueled with every day on the government sponsored food program. Great! And then teachers are expected to teach the children and survive the blood sugar spikes and falls throughout the day. No wonder our children are falling behind.

My son (age 11) actually decided the school breakfast and lunch were awful and he couldn't stay awake after eating there. My experiment went well. He now takes his own lunch (grain free) and eats breakfast at home. The key is that he had to respond to his own body and realize how the dessert breakfast and carb laden lunch affected him. Our family lives grain free. My daughter also takes her lunch and eats grain free at school.

I will do some more research. You make a good point about the historical fact that we don't really need "breakfast" when we get up. Too bad that society tempts us too often with carbs and sugar. Maybe someday they will learn.

December 14, 2012
1:46 pm
Debit
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Based on my experience, popular types of breakfast are unnecessary, and can even be counterproductive. First of all, they are way too loaded. Trying to digest something heavy before you are fully awake and alert? Come on! Anything beyond a cup of water, coffee, or plain yogurt is going to make you feel weighed down. In particular, if you have busy morning schedule, you may have trouble concentrating on work or study while your not yet fully awaken body is busy digesting a big meal.

I think the key to minimizing early morning food craving is to minimize insulin spikes on a daily basis. In particular, avoid late meals and snacks.

There is one situation you will most likely to crave for breakfast: The morning after heavy drinking. I think what happens is that massive ethanol metabolism results in glucose depletion. Furthermore, not only you badly want to replenish your supply of glucose, but also electrolytes.

January 4, 2013
2:49 am
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Lisa L:

It's amazing children learn anything at all when we do our best to make sure they're on a massive blood sugar rollercoaster all day by feeding them sugary junk -- including "hearthealthywholegrains" that digest to sugar just as quickly and have the same effects.

I'm glad you're able to give your children the advantage of real food!

Debit:

Too many people force themselves to eat in the morning because they've been repeatedly told "breakfast is the most important meal".  As for myself, I've found that eating breakfast usually makes me hungrier!  Once my blood sugar drops from breakfast I'm hungry again, whereas when I fast, hunger takes much longer to catch up with me.

JS

October 20, 2013
8:09 pm
Aquaria
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Potatoes are disgusting, and are behind a lot more digestive problems in this country than people realize.

I don't know how anyone can eat that trash.

As for me, I never have been much of a breakfast eater. I usually eat a couple of hours after I wake up, and have leftovers from dinner, or some kind of meat and eggs. I was also a graveyard shift worker for several years, and learned that it doesn't matter what you eat when. If you want to have filet mignon with truffle butter and brussel sprouts at 7 a.m., go for it. Who's to tell you that you can't?

October 22, 2013
1:10 am
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Aquaria:

I agree: one of the biggest handicaps for breakfast eaters is the idea that there's such a thing as "breakfast food".  Most people would be better served eating their dinner for breakfast and their breakfast for dinner!

However, while I'm not a member of the potato cult that briefly became fashionable in Paleoland, they're reasonably nutritious as starchy foods go, and I enjoy them as an accompaniment to meat.

JS

March 3, 2014
7:55 am
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But the plains Indians had pemmican which kept for long periods, which could have been eaten in the morning. And there were hunter gatherer settlements that depended on salmon in a where the salmon spawned in huge numbers, must have dried them. I presume at least some other hunter gatherers would have had some kind of preservative method, particularly out of the tropics.

Maybe pemmican was a pre neolithic food?

March 3, 2014
11:17 pm
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Walter:

The contention isn't that Paleolithic humans never ate breakfast and always did a 16/8 IF, nor that we should do the same.

However, it seems likely, given the science and evidence we have (see Part II), that they didn't always have a plethora of food -- particularly carb-heavy food -- available immediately upon waking.  Pemmican is carbless, and nutritionally more like "dinner" than "breakfast".  Same with smoked salmon. 

(Also note that no Native American cultures for which we have any evidence are ancestral unless you're American Indian or South American, and none of them are Paleolithic.  This isn't an argument against, but I've seen too many people bringing up evidence that "Indians did X" as if that proves whether something was "paleo" or not.)

JS

September 25, 2014
10:58 pm
Randy Wang
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Great article. This line just about sums it up for me: "Are you really all that hungry when you wake up—or are you eating because you think you’re supposed to?"

September 28, 2014
6:18 pm
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Randy:

I'm glad you find that insight valuable! It's been key for me, too: some days I'm hungry and eat hugely, others I barely eat anything, I may or not be hungry at a traditional "mealtime" -- and that's fine.

JS

November 3, 2014
8:09 pm
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J. Stanton said

Randy:

I'm glad you find that insight valuable! It's been key for me, too: some days I'm hungry and eat hugely, others I barely eat anything, I may or not be hungry at a traditional "mealtime" -- and that's fine.

JS

Yes. That's what I do. Some mornings I wake up hungry and have a mostly protein meal. Other times I go until noon with perhaps some nuts.

November 16, 2014
9:17 am
bill morten
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Sunday through Friday my breakfast consists of either raw bok-choy, collard greens, or kale along with an orange , a slice of pinepple, grapes, water, and maybe a few berries whipped in a blender.
That is consumed along with a small sandwich made from hummus, lettuce, tomato, and 1/3 of an avocado.
This completely satiates me until dinner time.

I found some bacon in the freezer today that had been there almost a year from last Christmas, which is the only time that we eat it. I went out and bought a half dozen eggs, and ate one fried in the grease of fried bacon (a little), the bacon and some hash brown patties. Although it is was palatable and tasted good, it is highly over-rated. I can do with consuming this once or twice a year. It has been an hour since it was ingested. I am looking forward to beans, rice, and lots of greens for dinner>

Plant based foods as close to whole and unprocessed as possible is what my body craves most of the time.

November 18, 2014
11:43 am
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Bill:

You're eating Real Food, and I support that in any combination that works for you...even though I, myself, wouldn't survive for more than a couple hours on your breakfast!

Interestingly, I've found most people go through a period of "OMG I can eat ALL THE BACON" when they first go Paleo. This lasts a few weeks to a month -- after which things generally settle down. I eat bacon perhaps once a week -- and often as a condiment, e.g. atop meat or potatoes, not as the central meat dish in a meal.

JS

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