New book in Dutch

Eet vet word slank

Eet vet word slank gepubliceerd januari 2013

In dit boek lees je o.a.: * heel veel informatie ter bevordering van je gezondheid; * hoe je door de juiste vetten te eten en te drinken kan afvallen; * hoe de overheid en de voedingsindustrie ons, uit financieel belang, verkeerd voorlichten; * dat je van bewerkte vetten ziek kan worden.

Trick and Treat:
How 'healthy eating' is making us ill
Trick and Treat cover

"A great book that shatters so many of the nutritional fantasies and fads of the last twenty years. Read it and prolong your life."
Clarissa Dickson Wright

Natural Health & Weight Loss cover

"NH&WL may be the best non-technical book on diet ever written"
Joel Kauffman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

O breakfast! O breakfast! The meal of my heart!
Bring porridge, bring sausage, bring fish for a start,
Bring kidneys and mushrooms and partridges' legs,
But let the foundation be bacon and eggs.

Part 1: The foundation course

The time to start any new diet or way of eating is tomorrow! So, with that in mind, the obvious starting meal is breakfast.

French cuisine is admired the world over; the Chinese, in the West, are renowned for takeaways; the Italians for their pastas and pizzas; the Japanese for raw fish. Although, in gastronomic terms, England tends, it seems, to be thought of only in terms of fish and chips, the fact is that the English have given the world what is without doubt the finest and most important meal of all: breakfast.

In the face of a traditional cooked English breakfast, French croissants and Swiss muesli pale into nutritional insignificance; only the German cold meats, cheese and hard-boiled eggs, come close. For breakfast — a good breakfast, that is — makes all the difference: not only does it determine how well you will perform and how well you will feel throughout the day; it also plays a crucial role in determining whether or not you will be healthy.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or not, it is better to take meals spread out over the day, rather than have one large one. The pattern that has been suggested for centuries is: ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord and dine like a pauper.’ In other words, the biggest meal should be at the start of the day, when energy for work is required, instead of the more usual practice of having it in the evening when all you are going to do is sit and watch television and then go to bed. It makes a great deal of sense.

Several lines of research have suggested that both children and adults get fatter and perform less well if they do not have breakfast.

The average working woman and man needs some 2,100 and 2,800 calories a day respectively. If you are engaged in heavy physical work, you require more. If you are to spread out your calorie intake over three meals a day sensibly, therefore, you really should be thinking in terms of eating a breakfast comprising around 800 or 1,000 calories. And you can’t do that on muesli and skimmed milk.

Blood sugar deficiency

Although I have a fried breakfast every day now, I didn’t always. I like cornflakes. So even after I had started to eat this way, I had cornflakes with Jersey milk for breakfast every Sunday as a treat. At about 10 o’clock on a Sunday I would get the car out to wash it and start work. I noticed, however, that after I was about halfway through, I started to get what I called ‘weak and wobbly’. So I would come in, have something to eat and sit until the feeling passed. I must be dense because it was years before I realised that this only happened when I had breakfast cereal; I never had these ‘weak and wobbly’ episodes after a fried breakfast.

Our bodies need over forty different nutrients to function properly. Fresh fat meat supplies them all; refined sugar, on the other hand supplies only one.

Normally we eat such a wide variety of foods that deficiency of one essential nutrient seems impossible but there is one deficiency that can happen and when it does, even for a few hours, it can ruin your whole day: that is a deficiency of the blood sugar, glucose.

All body cells and the brain need energy to function. This energy comes from the oxidation of glucose or glucose and fat. Only when blood glucose levels are adequate can the cells that need it obtain the amount of energy they need.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it determines what your energy levels will be, not just for the immediate period after it is eaten, but throughout the day. That, in turn, determines how you will feel and act, and how efficiently you will operate. But just eating something is simply not good enough: for breakfast, quality is much more important than quantity. Eating too much of the wrong foods is as bad as, and in some cases worse than, not eating enough of the right ones.

If you have not eaten for twelve hours, your blood sugar level will be between 3.8 mmol/L and 6.1 mmol/L, with an average at about 4.5 mmol/L. This figure is known as the fasting blood sugar level. It depends on what and how much food was eaten at the last meal.

At the level of 5 or above, energy is readily available but as energy is used and your blood sugar level falls energy becomes scarcer and you start to become tired. Below about 4 you will feel hungry and your tiredness will become fatigue. If your blood sugar level continues to fall, you become progressively exhausted, develop headaches, weakness and tremors in your limbs, palpitations of the heart, and nausea. It requires only a small reduction in blood sugar levels for your brain’s energy supply to fall to a level where thinking is confused and slowed. As this process continues, you become depressed and uncooperative, irritable and aggressive. This is a natural reaction to starvation, programmed into all of us by our evolution: it is our body’s signal to us to go out and kill something to eat.

In contrast, if your food intake ensures that your blood glucose is maintained at a level above fasting, you will feel on top of the world with plenty of ‘go’, be quick and alert, and have no feelings of depression or hunger.

Results of early breakfast studies

Many studies have been conducted into the effects of various foods and mealtimes on blood glucose levels. They have all demonstrated the importance of the breakfast meal.

In one study conducted at Harvard University in 1943, glucose levels were measured for six hours after breakfasts that were high in carbohydrate, protein or fat.[1]

  • In the light of breakfasts today, the high-carbohydrate breakfast, which consisted of orange juice, bacon, toast and jam, a packaged cereal with milk and sugar, and coffee with milk and sugar, might seem quite good. It wasn’t. After this meal the subjects’ glucose levels rose rapidly, but fell just as quickly to a very low level, causing inefficiency and feelings of hunger and fatigue.
  • The high-fat breakfast consisted only of a packaged cereal with whipping cream. This time blood glucose levels rose only slightly and then returned to the fasting level throughout the period.
  • The high-protein breakfast contained skimmed milk, lean minced beef and cottage cheese. This time blood glucose levels rose to 6.6 and stayed at that level throughout the whole six hours.

Unfortunately, in this series of tests, although it did show that a high-carbohydrate meal, which resembled what many today would consider a ‘normal’ breakfast, was the worst, neither of the others was representative of breakfasts in the real world.

Six years later another American test addressed this flaw.[2] This time the subjects ate a variety of commonly eaten American breakfasts. To assess their relative influence, blood sugar levels were measured before breakfast and then at hourly intervals for three hours afterwards.

The findings, looked at today, are quite remarkable as breakfasts that gave the worst results are those that are now the most popular:

  1. Black coffee alone was the first breakfast to be tested. This caused a drop in blood sugar levels, and feelings of hunger, fatigue, lassitude, irritability, nervousness, exhaustion and headaches that became progressively worse.
  2. Two doughnuts and coffee with milk and sugar caused a rapid rise in blood sugar, but it fell again within one hour to a low level, giving similar symptoms to the coffee-only breakfast.
  3. A glass of orange juice, two strips of bacon, toast, jam and coffee with cream and sugar, the typical American breakfast, was the next meal tested. Again, blood sugar rose rapidly but fell to a level below the pre-breakfast level within an hour, remaining low until lunchtime.
  4. As C, with breakfast cereal added. The result was the same: a rapid rise followed quickly by a fall to abnormally low levels.
  5. As C, except that the cereal was replaced by oatmeal served with milk and sugar. Again there was a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by a fall which, this time, was more rapid and to an even lower level.
  6. The same again but with two eggs added. This time, blood sugar levels rose and stayed up all morning, as did efficiency and a feeling of wellbeing. A similar breakfast replacing the eggs by fortified full-cream milk was also beneficial.

The effects on the subjects of these various breakfasts were then studied after they had eaten lunch. Those who had eaten the most protein at breakfast retained a high blood sugar level all afternoon. Where blood sugar levels had been low in the morning, after the largely carbohydrate breakfasts, however, levels after lunch rose only for a matter of minutes, falling to a low level that lasted all afternoon.

Both these studies showed that the amount of protein eaten at breakfast time was highly relevant.

Several similar studies have since been conducted. Where the foods eaten were realistic, the results were remarkably consistent: efficiency and feeling of wellbeing experienced after meals was directly related to the amount of protein eaten.

Twenty-two grams of protein seemed to be the minimum for a breakfast to be effective. This kept blood glucose levels up for the three hours. Fifty-five grams of protein was required to keep the levels high for six hours. To put these figures in perspective, an egg contains between 6 and 7 grams of protein; an average rasher of bacon is about the same. Two eggs and two rashers of bacon, therefore, give you more than your 22-gram requirement. The best breakfasts of all were those that also included fat and a little carbohydrate. This was true of all meals.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Last updated 2 April 2010

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