NMU 127 – Low CHO breakfast helps blood sugar control
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 127 (April 24, 2019)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Low Carbohydrate Breakfast Improves Blood Sugar Throughout the Day
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2019)
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2019 has confirmed one of the main principles of effective weight loss and improved blood sugar regulation I have seen work and have emphasized with my own patients over the years. The principle is quite simple: breakfast should be low in carbohydrate calories. Many people with high blood sugar have been taught that oatmeal for breakfast is a good idea, as it is low glycemic and can also help to lower cholesterol. Well, oatmeal is still a rich carbohydrate food (66% percent of its calories are carbohydrates), and many people buy sweetened varieties or add sugar to oatmeal to sweeten the taste. This adds additional high glycemic carb calories, even if you use brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
In this study, overweight type 2 diabetics showed a lowering of their blood sugar (glucose) over the ensuing 24-hour period when they restricted carbohydrate calories at breakfast. They also reported being less hungry prior to dinner in the evening, when following this program. The program works because insulin resistance is known to be more pronounced in the morning hours, which means ingesting carbohydrate foods in the morning (even healthy ones like fruit and oatmeal) result in much higher blood sugar levels, which then sets up blood sugar problems for the rest of day.
To prevent high blood sugar, to help facilitate weight loss and to help manage existing high blood sugar problems in pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics, I encourage patients to eat one of the following breakfast choices at least five times per week:
1. A Whey Protein Shake (less than 2 grams of fat and less than 20 grams of carbohydrates). Blended with water and ice cubes, and add 1 heaping tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and possibly 1-2 teaspoons of creatine monohydrate powder (creatine has been shown to reverse insulin resistance and improve blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetics. Flaxseed helps to lower cholesterol, improves satiety – post-meal satisfaction improves regularity and supports the health of reproductive tissues – prostate, breast).
2. An Egg White Omelet, with added low glycemic vegetables (broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.). You can add sliced tomatoes on the side and have a piece of dry whole-grain toast or avocado slices.
3. A Bowl of Non-fat Greek Yogurt (not sweetened with sugar) to which you can add a high fiber, low carbohydrate breakfast cereal (Bran Buds, Fiber 1, etc.)
These breakfast selections keep your blood sugar lower and provide sufficient satiety to get you through the morning and into the early afternoon before feeling hungry for a bit of lunch. If you add 30 minutes a day of endurance exercise and/or strength training, it further helps to get blood sugar down, and improves cardiovascular health, speeds up metabolism and greatly improves weight loss results. The combination of a low-carb breakfast and 30 minutes a day of exercise is the key one-two punch that helps many people gain control over their blood sugar and improves their health on many levels.
I have included the reference for this research paper in the text below.
Courtney R Chang, Monique E Francois, Jonathan P Little. Restricting carbohydrates at breakfast is sufficient to reduce 24-hour exposure to postprandial hyperglycemia and improve glycemic variability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; 10.1093/ajcn/nqy261
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,