Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I often don't eat breakfast, instead going for some of Dave Asprey's "Bulletproof Coffee" - black coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil (concentrated medium chain triglycerides derived from coconut). This is both for performance (mental clarity) and for convenience. When I do have breakfast though I usually stay away from carbs at least until midday.

Carb Backloading
Avoiding carbs in the morning actually goes against the current mainstream thinking whereby people assume it is best to eat carbs in the morning when you are more insulin sensitive. While this is indeed true - you are more insulin sensitive in the morning and therefore will tolerate carbs better - this does not necessarily mean you should eat carbs in the morning.

As John Kiefer argues in 'Carb Backloading' and 'Carb Nite', which I'm really getting great results from now, you are better off not raising insulin at all in the first part of the day and rather extending the natural fat-burning (fasted) state after sleeping.

You can achieve this either by skipping breakfast, OR by eating mainly fat and some protein for breakfast, thereby keeping insulin levels low.

Insulin 101
To massively oversimplify, insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to control blood sugar levels. Too much glucose in the blood is toxic to the body so insulin is released to facilitate the transfer of glucose out of the blood and into bodily tissues to either be used as fuel (for the brain, muscles and other cell functions), to top up glycogen reserves in the muscles and liver (for that CrossFit work out later on in the day), or to be converted into fat and stored in adipose tissue (a major bummer if you want to look good in a bikini/speedos).

When insulin is high it prevents these stored fatty acids being released from adipose tissue to be burned as fuel. Hence, if you want to burn fat then high insulin levels = bad. The whole (flawed but useful) Glycemic Index of food theory (i.e low GI foods are better than high GI foods) is based on keeping insulin low.

The most effective way to increase insulin sensitivity (and therefore reduce the amount of fat-storing insulin released by the pancreas) is through resistance training. This is perhaps THE major benefit of weight training and why EVERYONE should lift heavy weights occasionally. To elaborate on CarbNite, Kiefer recommends that you do resistance training in the late afternoon (4-7pm) to increase muscular insulin sensitivity, which usually decreases as the day goes on. Check out my twenty-minute bodyweight workout here.

The theory goes that post workout you can get away with eating significant amounts of carbs and will actually increase muscular growth due to this spiking of insulin. Interestingly, Kiefer points out that insulin causes ALL body tissue to grow - both muscle and fat - and so this essential hormone can act as both friend and foe.

At times it may actually be beneficial to spike insulin after weight training to get the muscles to grow, while at other times (i.e. when insulin sensitivity is low/insulin resistance is high) it would be counterproductive to raise insulin too much as this will cause adipose (fat) tissue to grow. Diabetics are insulin resistant all the time which is why it is so difficult for them to lose weight. This is why resistance training coupled with a low carb or even ketogenic diet seems to be the best way to treat diabetes (Patel, 2012).

Eat fat to burn fat
For the above reasons I strongly advise against eating too many carbs in the morning if your goal is to burn fat. Raising insulin early in the morning by eating high carb, especially with low fat and low protein, is just setting you up for blood-sugar crashes and fat storage throughout the day.

The irony is that this is exactly what the Standard American Diet is telling you to eat - cereal or "healthy whole grains" like a whole-wheat bagel or Cheerios with skim milk and a glass of juice! HORRIFIC for your metabolism and a sure-fire way to feel like shit all day and gain weight. Even "slow-release" oatmeal or muesli, contrary to popular belief, is not a healthy breakfast option. I'm not saying you have to eat bacon and eggs every day but I am saying don't eat bagels, cereal, low-fat yoghurt and fruit juice for breakfast! 

Bloody Oats!
I know a lot of you 'healthy' types love your oats, nuts, muesli, fruit and yoghurt in the morning (I was addicted to this breakfast for years!) Maybe you don't like the idea of eating bacon and eggs in the mornings, girls. But let me ask you to just try this for a week: cut the grains, fruit and other carbs in the morning and instead have something low carb, high fat. 

If the thought of bacon and eggs grosses you out how about a couple of hard boiled eggs and a handful of nuts, or if you can handle it maybe even some leftover meat or fish from the night before and half an avocado? I guarantee you will feel better, with lasting energy until lunchtime and without your typical 11am food cravings for sweet things. Just try it.

How About Green Smoothies?
I really believe that being strict on the zero carbs before midday is the best way to maximize fat burning, however, some people are obsessed with their green smoothies and that is totally fine.

If you insist on drinking your breakfast and are not interested in bulletproof coffee, I think a very low carb, high fibre, moderate protein and fat (green) smoothie could be fairly benign in the morning. Just leave out the high fructose fruit such as apple, pear, mango, pineapple or orange and instead throw in a few frozen berries if absolutely necessary - enabling you to keep net sugars to about 5 grams or less.

It is essential to include some fat in any green smoothie to enable absorption of the FAT SOLUBLE vitamins A, D, E and K. MCT oil, coconut oil, raw (pastured) egg yolks and avocado are a great source. I also would be careful of overdoing raw kale and raw spinach such a high load of oxalic acid can be problematic to some people. It's always better to lightly cook your greens and eat them with grass-fed butter to maximize their nutrition.

PS - Apparently the average American used to eat 5 eggs a day in the 1950s and look how slim they were compared to Americans today (Gundry, 2012).

PPS - I swear by this brand of MCT oil which I use in my Bulletproof Coffee and post-workout smoothies:

Related Articles:

How To Build Muscle, Honestly and Healthily

My Ideal Paleo Eating Day

The Big Three Weight Loss Myths: # 1 - Calories In, Calories Out


Asprey, Dave. 'The Bulletproof Executive', http://www.bulletproofexec.com [Accessed 07 April 2013]

Gundry, Steven, MD. 'High Fat Diets: Good vs. Bad', Ask the Low-Carb Experts Podcast Episode 35, Jan 15th 2013, http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2013/01/35-dr-steven-gundry-high-fat-diets-good-vs-bad/

Kiefer, John. 'Dangerously Hardcore', http://www.dangerouslyhardcore.com [Accessed 07 April 2013]

Patel, Rakesh, MD. 'Hacking your heart and preventing diabetes with Dr. Rocky Patel', Bulletproof Executive Radio Podcast 32, Nov 28th 2012, http://www.bulletproofexec.com/podcast-32-hacking-your-heart-and-preventing-diabetes-with-dr-rocky-patel/

Image Source 1: www.rottenecards.com
Image Source 2: www.someecards.com 


  1. Great article!! I love my Bulletproof Coffee!

  2. Great article. Not eating cereal for breakfast is the best diet change I have ever made.

  3. great article thank you for sharing this useful and informative information!

  4. Just stumbled upon this post. Very well-written and interesting. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for the great information. I've been trying to lose weight for a long time and I discovered that calorie counting and portion control do work wonders to avoid the excess pounds. My sister insisted that I try her 3 Day Military diet in which she lost 8 pounds total. I have to lose around 8- 10 pounds so I did try the diet. It was amazing how this low carb diet has a meal plan that measures the correct calories I need to lose weight. It's great that sugar was not permitted, allowing me to sugar detox. For more information on the military diet, see this resource page http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/diet-plan/military-diet-day-3.html

  6. Your memes are extremely offensive. As a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed as a child and must be dependent on insulin to survive it's really heartbreaking to see people mindlessly posting things such as you.

    1. are you sure you dont have cryabetes

  7. go back to your safe space

  8. Wow! I cut out carbs in the morning before noon, and it's amazing how much less tired I feel in the afternoon. Before, around 3-4pm I'd feel really tired and want caffeine, but now I don't feel tired in the afternoon.

  9. It's dumb that you think just girls don't enjoy eating bacon and eggs for breakfast.

  10. very great read. people don't understand how easy it is to overcome type 2 it just takes some effort and willpower but most people won't come across the right articles. its true there is no cure but i feel like its 90% curable with diet and exercise.

  11. Prevention and treatment of this disease involve maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, a normal body weight, and avoiding use of tobacco. Control of blood pressure and maintaining proper foot care are important for people with the disease. To get rid of these things people should take diabetes treatment