On The Lip Of A Lion What does breakfast do to me?

That’s a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion!

This week, prompted by an app called Zoe, I have been experimenting with my morning repast.

On Tuesday, I ate a single bagel, then nothing for three hours. On Wednesday, I devoured a bowl of nothing but avocado. Thursday was (glory be) avocado on a bagel and today was a plain bagel immediately followed by a 30-minute brisk walk.

And here’s what those diabolically calibrated breakfasts each did to my blood sugar:

Note: The yellow line is when I ate breakfast. The blue shaded area is the three hour test period.

  1. Plain bagel: blood sugar spikes and gradually descends — but remains higher than my typical baseline for this time of day. 5/5 on the hungry scale (ravenous).
  2. Pure avocado: blood sugar doesn’t rise at all. 4/5 on the hungry scale (wolfish).
  3. Bagel + avocado: blood sugar rises, but only after a 30-minute delay and it never goes as high as on Tuesday. 1/5 on the hungry scale (I could eat).
  4. Bagel + walk: again, blood sugar rises, not as high as on Tuesday, but followed by a more steeper and deeper decline. 2/5 on the hungry scale (peckish).

One of the things I find interesting about these breakfasts is that there is no place for protein.

I’d always thought that protein = satiety, but it turns out that combining carbs and fats also = satiety. Even a brisk walk = satiety! How can a walk fill you up? Mind blown.

But, while a post-prandial walk (or any kind of exercise, science suggests) seems to flatten the blood sugar spike, it did leave my blood sugar levels lower than the other breakfasts. Something to play around with.

I was also struck by how much fat Zoe recommended I eat with my bagel: 200g. That’s two whole avocados — a lot more than you’d get on your smashed avo in a hipster cafe.

So that’s a couple of things I never knew about my body. I’m looking forward to learning more, particularly about what times of day I deal with food best — my glucose levels seem to struggle in the evenings.

(Note: Your blood and guts might respond to this kind of experiment very differently. There’s a reason why this is called ‘personalised nutrition’. See how you go!)

Tomorrow, breakfast will be a bowl of avocado, a 10-minute pause, and then the bagel.

I’ve no idea what might happen to me personally, but I’d never previously considered the idea that sequencing foods might make any difference at all. I’ll report back!

Rare words! brave world! Hostess, my breakfast, come!
O, I could wish this tavern were my drum!

Incidentally, did you know that, in France, they have breakfast at lunchtime?

In French, ‘dejeuner’ means ‘lunch’ in English, but etymologically translates as ‘breakfast’ — ‘jeuner’ being the French verb ‘to fast’.

Although some people also use ‘dejeuner’ to refer to ‘breakfast’, the more common term for ‘breakfast’ in French is ‘petit dejeuner’ or ‘little breakfast’. Very confusing.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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