You can ask “experts” on nutrition about breakfast and get a million different answers.
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day; however, I believe for many it is the most disastrous meal of the day. The reason I say this is because most people don’t understand the importance of nutrient pairing and/or separation. As a result, the typical breakfast consists of little protein with an abundance of carbohydrates and fats together. Research shows that separating carbohydrates from fats will allow the body to metabolize fat more efficiently.
Perhaps my biggest “secret” that I use for staying relatively lean year round is how I eat my breakfast, which is high protein, high fat, very low carbohydrates, and some fiber. There are two reasons for this. 1) Introducing fat to the body first thing in the morning means that your body will be utilizing fat as its main fuel source throughout the rest of the day. This is called “metabolic flexibility.” If I load up on carbohydrates in the morning, I will be stuck using those as my fuel source for the rest of the day and will be burning a minimal amount of fat at best and most likely storing it instead. That is the opposite of what we want! 2) Holding off on carbs in the morning and strategically eating them at the right times will make you more insulin sensitive and metabolically flexible so that when you introduce carbs later in the day your body will utilize them more efficiently.
Now David…I thought I needed carbs for energy!? You’re correct, but there’s a BIG caveat to that answer…your body already has a large supply of stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in your liver and your muscle cells…so you DO NOT NEED carbs first thing in the morning if your glycogen stores are already at maximum capacity! Our bodies store roughly 100 grams of glycogen in our liver and anywhere from 300-600 grams of glycogen in our muscles depending on your sex, age, and body composition. How much 600 grams of carbs? 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4kcal or 4 calories thus 600 grams equals 2400 calories. Thus, back to my point of avoiding carbs first thing in the morning, you do not need them unless you’ve been in a carbohydrate deficit. Are there instances when it’s encouraged to eat carbs for breakfast!? If you train first thing in the morning and prefer to eat before your workout and you’re either an endurance or strength athlete…I would encourage you to have a small serving of a complex carbohydrate along with your protein and veggies, but even so you do not need carbs until after your workout when you’re the most insulin-sensitive!