The bad stuff that happens when you don’t eat protein for breakfast

What happens when you don’t eat or only eat fat in the morning.

This is straight from my Human Anatomy and Physiology course. Not opinion. Not conjecture. Just science.

We have two states.

1. Fasted/starvation
2. Fed

The signal for the fasted/starved state is:

1. When the body is fueling only on fatty acids or ketones.

The signal for the fed state is:

1. When amino acids are detected by the gut
2. When insulin is increased as a result of carbohydrate ingestion

The body does not differentiate between using dietary fatty acids or fatty acids from adipose (stored fat). When you wake up in the morning you will have used all glycogen stores during the overnight fast. Insulin will be at its lowest. You are using strictly ketones and fatty acids for fuel.

This is the fasted/starved state

The body does a couple things in the state in the morning, or any time of day potentially to those that are not yet very fat adapted:

1. Hunger is reduced so it is not causing hunger pangs as this would be distracting to the hunger gatherer who desperately needs to focus and hunt so not to waste away. The lack of hunger and the focus and energy are mostly due to adrenal hormones being released with the dawn effect.

This is why most people are not hungry when they wake up.

2. Cortisol spikes to increase energy through gluconeogenesis, the breakdown of lean tissue and fatty acids for the creation of new glucose. This energy is so you can hunt and get food. It is not meant to live off of so you don’t have to eat. It is meant for you to have energy to get food so you can eat.

What happens when you just skip breakfast?

Sure you continue to use fatty acids which is good and your GNG is down regulated so you are preserving lean mass. That is great but you are also dropping metabolic rate to preserve your storage for a potential famine. This happens when you are not eating. The longer you don’t eat the lower your metabolic rate drops. If this didn’t happen the lean hunter gatherer, which we spent the majority of our evolution as, would quickly burn through their minimal stored fat and have only lean tissue left to feed off of. This would mean a quick death from starvation.

So upside you get to burn more fat but downside is you do use some lean mass and you slow your metabolism. This is just an evolutionary necessity. We are an efficient machine and our one mission is to stay alive whatever the cost and slowing of the metabolism is a great way to do that in the fasted/starved state.

What happens when you have just a fatty coffee?

As previously stated, the body does not differentiate between using body fat or ingested fat. You are in the fasted/starved state in the morning and everything that comes with it. If all you do is have fat when you get up the body simply continues the state by spiking cortisol and starting GNG and lowering metabolism even further. If you don’t eat something other than fat in the morning you will be missing the best opportunity to spike insulin. When it is beneficial. This further reduces insulin sensitivity rather than the goal, which increasing insulin sensitivity. It has been proven in numerous studies that people that eat breakfast have better glucose control and this is related to our circadian rhythm.

We are very insulin sensitive in this state as the body is always prepped to take in nutrients in the fasted/starved state. Doing so will signal the end of the fasted/starved state and signal gene expression for increasing metabolism. There is potential that this is a good window to eat carbs with no effect since we are the most insulin sensitive at this time. I will be testing this in the near future. It is possible that this may not work for those that are very insulin resistant because the glucogenic load of the carbs and the protein may increase insulin to levels that will keep fat utilization shut down for long periods so these people may be better off to eat a more ketogenic meal at breakfast and keep the insulinagenic properties of the meal lower. That is something that each person will have to test.

So to summarize:

We are in the fasted/starved state in the morning and in this state hunger is suppressed, adrenal hormones are released and GNG starts to give us energy to hunt and metabolism starts to slow to preserve lean mass losses.

If we don’t eat we just let the above process continue.

If we eat protein, and potentially carbs, at this time we reset the system and not only prevent a lowered metabolism but increase gene expression for a high metabolism and better insulin sensitivity.

The below links will take you to research showing that eating breakfast results in better BMI and the expression of genes for weight loss and insulin sensitivity.

Larger breakfast leads to expression of weight loss genes

Eating larger breakfast results in dramatically reduced BMI compared to skipping breakfast

Keto On!

Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

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5 Replies to “The bad stuff that happens when you don’t eat protein for breakfast”

  1. Is it possible for you to be more specific when you say more protein at breakfast, less fat. I know you said more research is needed, any predictions? Thanks.

  2. so…………if I nix the BPC, only have black w/a splash of HWC, bacon and eggs, would that be good?
    Then a BPC for lunch with a small snack??
    Dinner is just a small portion of whatever, as well (salad, maybe).
    TIA for a reply.

    1. I used to do bulletproof coffee, but have now changed it up and got an awesome whey protein Isolate powder (.25g fat and 1 carb) and now I have my coffee with one egg white (save the yolk for lunch) plus half a scoop of protein powder and voila!!! Very yummy!! Only beautiful protein too!

  3. I too need more guidance on what a typical breakfast with less fat, more protein, maybe some carbs looks like?🙄
    Thanks! Just trying to wrap my head around this “Common Sense Keto” vs. typical keto I’ve been doing.

    1. I am still working on this. Ideally for now I would just do like eggs or eggs and bacon with no added fats. No BPC in the morning. Save the BPC for later in teh day.

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