Oatmeal. Cereal. Bagel. Toast.
We didn't even mention donuts. Everyone knows those aren't weight-loss-promoting.
But what about those other things? What does your breakfast include? Do you force down the long-time touted "fat-burning breakfast" (bowl of oatmeal) for your fat-loss goals? Do you rationalize your morning bagel because "it's not a donut?" There's always a worse option, right?
Here, we're not speaking of the healthiness of any particular food. Rather, we're just going to touch on the effectiveness of fat loss.
What do the foods listed at the beginning share in common? They are high in carbohydrates. Thanks to the popularity of the keto diet, carbs have gotten a bad rap. This is not a carb-hating message. However, if you want to lose fat, consuming high-carb, low-fiber foods are not to your benefit. It may be hurting your progress. Here's why:
1) Foods high in carbohydrates spike your blood sugar quickly. Carbs like these quickly break down in your body, and therefore, the sugars in them hit your bloodstream like a tidal wave. Spike... crash. This crash causes a drop in energy level (usually about 1.5 to 2 hours later) and leads to cravings for more carbs. You may over-consume calories just because you're brain is telling your body it's hungry. Even when it is not.
2) That increase in blood sugar causes an insulin spike. To manage the sugar in your blood, your body recruits insulin from your pancreas. Your body knows all that sugar floating in your blood isn't good for too long. So, insulin helps bring the sugar out of the bloodstream into the cells. Once your liver and muscle cells are full of this sugar, the body usually stores this extra sugar in fat cells. Bigger fat cells are not what we're going for here.
So what should you eat for breakfast? Cage-free, organic eggs, turkey sausage, leafy greens, green smoothies, and avocados are some of our favorites! But, if you're still hung up on your oatmeal, there is one hack that can help mitigate the blood sugar roller coaster ride we mentioned above: add fat. Mix almond butter or full-fat Greek yogurt into your oatmeal. This extra fat will slow down the release of sugar into the blood, slowing the curve of your spike.
Now that we just ruined your day keep in mind that everyone is different. If high-carb breakfasts work for your fat loss goals, that is fabulous! But if they aren't, try rethinking your breakfast for better results!