Today's post is inspired by the recent three three-day food logs I spent the past couple nights evaluating. I try to evaluate each individuals diet differently taking into account their daily schedule, if they have kids, and so many other factors, but in addition whenever I get to evaluate multiple logs at once it allows to gain a larger perspective of the average Americans daily diet. In these three food logs the reoccurring pattern I picked up on immediately was the severe lack of vegetables. I am not saying this is the only problem I saw in the diets because I did see an over reliance on starchy carbohydrates or sugars, and a lack of protein at every feeding, but by far an large the biggest gap was in the amount of veggies being consumed. For those of you who are removed in your relationship with veggies, they are they leafy odd color food you pass on you way to the frozen food asile. Anyway I'd rather take a positive approach to helping fix this problem, so rather than blaming the individuals themselves for not eating more vegetables  because they just don't want to I'd like to assume that people aren't eating more veggies because they simply aren't for sure how to go about incorporating more veggies in their diet other than eating straight-up raw vegetables (not my favorite either just for the record). In response to my assumption I tried to develop a list of strategies that will allow you to incorporate more veggies using simple and convient methods.

 
The purpose of exercise is to place stress upon the body in order to create a physiological adaptation. This adaptation is specific to the type of stress used and the particular system being stressed. While this is a simple concept to understand, what is not well understood is the fact that the stress is only the catalyst for the adaptation. The key to insuring that the adaption fully takes place is rest and recovery. So one way of thinking about this process is as a reaction which would look something like the following:

system + stress + rest -> result (adaptation)

 
I love breakfast! No, I mean I love breakfast. I would eat eggs all day long if I could. I say these things to let everyone understand that what I am going to talk about next slowly kills me with every word because I absolutely love my breakfast.

We have all heard the old adage that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day", now while this may be true in some cases as far as just kicking off the morning in a ritualistic manner and elevating your mood. We have also heard that breakfast is important for those of us who want to look good nekkid, because it kick starts the metabolism and reverse the catabolic state your body is in upon waking. But studies have begun to surface lately that are contradicting this once held truth.

I am beginning to see more and more evidence that proves to me that skipping breakfast may be a viable option to improving body composition. The first convincing piece of evidence that sold me on the idea is the hormones at work and their relative levels upon waking in the morning. One of the important hormones to consider is Cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for breaking down glycogen stores in the muscle and liver. Cortisol levels naturally elevate throughout the nigh and peak just upon waking. This had led most people to believe that because Cortisol levels are high and Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that are bodies are in a state of breakdown, but what the individuals failed to take into considerations is the relative amount of other supporting hormones at this period of time. Insulin is an importnat hormone that has to be in synergy with Cortisol to provide a proper breakdown of glycogen, but Cortisol is elevated in the morning and Insulin levels are relatively low meaning Cortisol does not perform in its normal capacity. Instead high levels of Cortisol in the morning triggers the breakdown triglycerides into free fatty acids for metabolization and lipolysis. Which means that waking and waiting to eating will kick start fat-burning, which is completely opposite of what most have believed for the past 5 to 10 years. Studies have also been published showing that Ghrelin, hormone responsible for hunger, levels raise throughout sleep and peak also upon waking. But what most don't know is that it also stimulates increased release of growth hormone and as growth hormone levels increase the amount of fat being used for fuel increases and the amount of protein being broken down decreases.

With all this evidence presented to me as to the hormonal interactions occurring upon awakening one can only come to the conclusion that prolonging your morning meal until cortisol and growth hormone levels return to normal may be a beneficial technique for losing fat. This conclusion I found out was also backed up by a study done by researchers looking at the difference between a group of participants that ate a big number of calories early in the day and a group of participants who skipped breakfast and ate majority of their calories later in the day. What the researchers saw was that the group that skipped breakfast lost more total weight and lost almost exclusively fat. While the other group did lose weight but lost it from a combined source of fat and muscle.

It may seem crazy, but what I am saying is that if you are someone who is struggling with body composition alteration you may want to consider changing your morning routine to allow you to put off breakfast until a few hours after waking. YEAH I SAID IT! TRY SKIPPING BREAKFAST. I have been experimenting with it myself and have seem some definite improvements as far as my own body composition goes.

Sources:

Enomoto M, Nagaya N, Uematsu M, Okumura H, Nakagawa E, Ono F, Hosoda H, Oya H, Kojima M, Kanmatsuse K, Kangawa K.  Cardiovascular and hormonal effects of subcutaneous administration of ghrelin, a novel growth hormone-releasing peptide, in healthy humans.  Clin Sci (Lond). 2003 Oct;105(4):431-5.

Samra JS, Clark ML, Humphreys SM, Macdonald IA, Matthews DR, Frayn KN.  Effects of morning rise in cortisol concentration on regulation of lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue.  Am J Physiol. 1996 Dec;271(6 Pt 1):E996-1002

Chandler AM, Walker SP, Connolly K, Grantham-McGregor SM.  School breakfast improves verbal fluency in undernourished Jamaican children.  J Nutr. 1995 Apr;125(4):894-900.

Simeon DT, Grantham-McGregor S.  Effects of missing breakfast on the cognitive functions of school children of differing nutritional status.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Apr;49(4):646-53.

Martin A, Normand S, Sothier M, Peyrat J, Louche-Pelissier C, Laville M.  Is advice for breakfast consumption justified? Results from a short-term dietary and metabolic experiment in young healthy men.  Br J Nutr. 2000 Sep;84(3):337-44.