Are You Committing a Nutrition Blunder

(May 2012)

Nikol Margiotta, DN, FAARFM

I think our patients at the Raby Institute are pretty nutritionally savvy but one of the biggest mistake many of our patients make and much of the population makes on a daily basis is skipping breakfast. The purpose of breakfast is literally to “break-the-fast.” That means going without food from dinnertime until the next morning. For many people that is equivalent to a 12 hour fast. Then, if you skip or skimp on breakfast (“I’ll grab a coffee at ‘Bucks”), you are adding several more hours before the body and brain get the fuel they need to handle the energy demands of the day.

Here’s what happens:

- Melatonin (the sleep hormone) starts to drop and cortisol starts to rise in order to mobilize and raise blood sugar to help “wake you up.”  Almost immediately, your brain sends a signal that it is time for food

- By skipping breakfast, your body starts searching for any source of calorie to fuel your cells. Depending on how long you go without food, your body can turn to muscle (for protein).  It will also increase the release of insulin to help drive any remaining sugar (for your brain) in your bloodstream into the cells.  Then, once you finally eat, excess insulin tells your brain to “store, store, store”, thinking you are in “starvation mode.”   In response to this signal, your metabolism slows and most of what you eat gets stored as fat.

Researchers continue to discover powerful facts about the importance of breakfast, citing that people who eat breakfast have half the risk of becoming obese and experiencing insulin resistance. Another study found that adults who skipped breakfast have a higher incidence of developing metabolic syndrome.  One simple explanation is that breakfast eaters are less likely to gorge themselves on simple carbohydrate foods like bagels, muffins or even a Vente caramel macchiato as their blood sugar begins to plummet (typically between 9-10:30AM).

The bottom line?  Breakfast doesn’t have to be big, but it is a big deal for your body.  I often enjoy a protein smoothie, a vegetable omelet, a slice of gluten free toast with almond or other butter or a hard-boiled egg or two.   Since many of you are avoiding dairy and miss your morning yogurt – try this instead:

Tofu “Yogurt” (makes 2 servings)

1 container Silken Tofu – firm
Stevia, agave nectar or organic honey to taste
¾ to 1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 tsp organic vanilla extract

Line a colander with cheese cloth or coffee filter. Crumble Silken tofu into colander and allow to drain for 20 – 30 minutes. Place in food processor, add sweetener, vanilla and blend for 45 sec to 1 minute or until smooth. Add berries and continue to blend until desired consistency. You can reserve ¼ c of berries to add to the top. Recipe can also be made in a blender

- Eliminate berries and add 1-2 tbsp organic cocoa powder like Chocolate Bliss
- Add 1-2 tbsp flaked coconut

To make an appointment with Dr. Nikol Margiotta call the Raby Institute at 312-276-1212.




Nutrition Research and Practice: 2011 Oct; 5(5):455-63. Epub 2011 Oct 28. Skipping breakfast is associated with diet quality and metabolic syndrome risk factors of adults.

Min C, Noh H, Kang YS, Sim HJ, Baik HW, Song WO, Yoon J, Park YH, Joung H.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Nov;88(5):1396-404.

Association of breakfast energy density with diet quality and body mass index in American adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999-2004.

Kant AK, Andon MB, Angelopoulos TJ, Rippe JM.

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