Are oats really
the best breakfast
for your body?
As a Nutritional Therapist, I’m pretty damn passionate about what people put into their bodies. I’m even more passionate about dispelling the nutrition myths that I see permeating the wellness industry and cluttering up my Insta feed. And I’ll tell you what makes me the most angry - breakfast.
Now don’t get me wrong, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I’m sure it’s yours too - avocado toast, overnight oats with poached fruit compote, buttery sourdough with lashings of jam, granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt...all sounds pretty damn dreamy to me. But what does every item on my aforementioned fantasy breakfast menu have in common? Sugar.
“But overnight oats and my favourite wellness blogger’s new granola range are healthy, no?” Humm. I’m not so sure. Is granola made with gluten-free oats, natural sugars from dates and raisins healthier than the refined corn syrup version with refined grains like wheat flakes? Yes probably. But is it the ultimate breakfast for your body? Let’s discuss…
The common conception is that oats are a slow releasing carbohydrate so therefore help to maintain steady energy levels throughout the day - I hear it from patients all the time. In comparison to a slice of white bread, yes, they are slow releasing, but if you were to head to your local pharmacy and buy a continuous blood glucose monitor then eat a bowl of oats, I 100% guarantee you that your blood sugar would spike very high, very quickly...not slowly at all.
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What’s the deal with blood sugar anyway?
Having consistently elevated blood sugar levels puts you at risk for prediabetes, in fact, so many more of us are at risk than we might think. Picture this: You wake up and have some overnight oats with fruit and peanut butter for breakfast, lunch is a grain bowl with sweet potato, greens and poached eggs, you snack on a bliss ball or ‘healthy’ treat mid afternoon and supper could be brown rice pasta with roasted veg and salmon. All really healthy foods, all high in sugar. That’s 4 or more possible opportunities to spike your blood sugar throughout the day and have you constantly craving carby, sugar rich foods.
What does our body actually need first thing in the morning?
Firstly, hydration. You’ve just gone 8 hours with no liquid. Rather than go straight for the coffee or tea, start your morning with warm water and slices of fresh ginger. Then, wait. Are you hungry? If so, cook up some eggs, steam some greens, pour tonnes of olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli flakes into half an avocado and garnish it all with some sauerkraut or kimchi. Quality protein, good fats and leafy greens - the perfect mix. If you’re vegan then start thinking about breakfast as just a meal, not a time to eat only breakfast type foods. Warm up some of your leftover lentil dahl from the night before with some kale or other seasonal veg, fry some tempeh in a splash of tamari sauce and have some smashed avo and greens on the side...you get the idea.
By starting the day with a protein and fat-rich meal, with minimal carbs, you’re setting yourself up for a day of stable blood sugar and constant energy levels. And we all want to feel energetic all day long right? That post lunch slump doesn’t have to be your everyday reality. Ditch the sugar and you’ll notice a huge shift in your energy, focus and concentration. I don’t usually promise things because everyone is different, but I promise you this - lowering your sugar intake will 100% improve your overall health.
gracekingswell.com Nutritional Therapist D. N. Med