Day To Day

Fight diabetes: breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s not just my grandmother that says it: studies have shown that the right breakfast sets the tone for the day. As a diabetic, breakfast has 2 aims: fill you up so that you’re not hungry before lunch (snacking is a no-no), and not make your glycemia explode to start the day (because then you might fall in a peak and crash pattern).

Snacking is bad because it keeps your blood sugar high for long periods of time (you cumulate meal effect with snack effect). One of the things I learned when my cat had diabetes is that you need to retrain your body so that it doesn’t expect high sugar levels all the time. It’s normal to have 80mg/dl levels between meals and you shouldn’t feel hungry because of it.

The peak and crash pattern (which my mum has) is bad because it’s a self-sustaining feedback loop: you eat the wrong thing, your blood sugar goes up, your body reacts strongly and tries to eliminate that poisonous sugar from your blood, your glycemia crashes, you get hungry, you eat again, you start a new peak. Your whole day can end up in a succession of peaks and crashes.

One thing that keeps you feel full longer are proteins. And as we know, carbs are a no-no for diabetics since they’re transformed into glucose very quickly and efficiently. I started with yogurt with blueberries, but that made me spike a little bit and I didn’t like to start my day that way.

Generally speaking, savoury breakfasts are better for you than sweet ones. They also manage your hunger for longer. So given the choice, always prefer a savoury breakfast. So I eventually moved to fried eggs: they’re mostly fat and proteins, so they don’t make my blood sugar spike at all. In fact, when I started my breakfast egg regimen my glycemia was lower after breakfast than before!

Some will be worried about all those eggs and cholesterol. Recent studies have however shown that there is no clear and direct link between eating several eggs a day and an increase if cholesterol. It’s a myth born in the 70s that isn’t based on scientific information. I’ve eaten 2 eggs for breakfast for several months and my cholesterol levels haven’t changed.

There is however one problem with eggs: they have been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Less clearly in a meta study. So the jury is still out on that one, but there is indication that eggs favour the appearance of type 2 diabetes. Like all animal products, they should be avoided in a diabetes diet. But they work for me.

Of course, you have to find what works for you: if your breakfast is a chore because it’s not appetising to you, you won’t stick to your plan for the long term. So you might need to compromise. I personally like fried eggs, so I’m happy with my repetitive breakfast for the last few months.

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