Thursday, March 5, 2009

Breakfast of champions

I was eating a Chinese bun and juicy pear for breakfast with my sister (who is in town for the week) and parents when it struck me:

Andy: Hey, we learned in class that you shouldn't eat carbohydrates first thing in the morning. You should start with some protein or fats first so that your blood glucose doesn't go up as fast.

Dad: Oh? Okay, explain this to me. I understand for like fruits and stuff... but carbohydrates too? I mean, it takes your body time to break them down - they're polysaccharides.

I scrambled my brain for an explanation, but I had none. All I could remember is that Soon-Yi Swift* ate an omelet for breakfast...

...

*Soon-Yi is a fictional marathon runner invented for the purposes of our Metabolism and Nutrition course. We've been following her training for the Beijing Olympics in class and learning about the changes in her blood glucose levels with and without food and exercise.

5 comments:

Teddy said...

Maybe that proteins are made up of amino acid monomers and carbohydrates are made up of glucose monomers, so carbo directly increases blood glucose?

a_ndy said...

It does, but he made it sound like it is okay to have carbs, just not first thing... so I think the protein/fat is supposed to slow the rise in blood glucose levels.

Joyce said...

W-Wha-?!? I always thought you should eat carbs first thing in the day to give you energy... @-@;;;

eleasa said...

i had no idea that raising your blood glucose levels quickly in the morning wasn't ideal. i've always eaten bread/toast & cereal in the mornings, or something fruity.

a_ndy said...

I was trying to find a scholarly explanation for this, but I ended up with a bunch of diet websites. Still, I think I get the picture.

From what I understand, carbohydrates are still an important part of meals (to provide sugars), but eating just carbohydrates increases your blood insulin leading to a rapid uptake of the sugars. In other words, your blood sugar rapidly rises then rapidly drops.

Eating protein slows down digestion, leading to a more gradual rise and fall of blood sugar levels and helping you to go longer without feeling hungry.