Should I eat breakfast after a dry fast during the refeed to optimize cortisol levels?

It’s common to see people skipping breakfast, hell, I’ve done it most my life. But I, like many of you came down with the most intense post viral illness that turned into an autoimmune illness. Maybe I’ve been overloading my body for too long?

A lot of us skip meals or eat at erratic intervals when we’re under stress. Such inconsistency can be concerning because long periods without food can make the adrenals work harder by requiring them to release more cortisol and adrenaline to keep your body functioning normally. This can tire out your adrenals over time. Not to mention, it makes you hungry enough to forget your good intentions to eat healthy and causes you to just grab whatever you can — whether it’s good for you or not.

  • Insulin sensitivity follows a diurnal rhythm- corresponding with the normal sharp drop in cortisol in the AM (the hypothalamus is controlling all of this).
  • After an 8-12 hour fast, the body appears to be designed to dispose of a larger meal by increasing beta-cell function and peripheral insulin action.
  • Eating breakfast helps to ensure the normal drop off in cortisol levels after awakening.
  • Skipping breakfast means we miss the window when our body is designed to most efficiently deal with a meal and, among other things, triggers cortisol production and a subsequent increased desire for comfort foods.
  • This pre-programmed increase in insulin and beta cell action after breakfast can be eliminated by improperly timing the first meal of the day due to awakening time (shift work, jet lag, poor sleep) or HPA axis stress.
  • The link between elevated stress, skipping breakfast and a wide-range of metabolic disorders is not a coincidence.

Unless purposely fasting, don’t skip meals. Start each day with a balanced breakfast containing both protein and fiber. ” I mention, among other things, that the glycemic dynamics after the morning meal have a powerful impact on hunger signals throughout the day. I also mention how the diurnal rhythm of the stress hormone cortisol, which peaks in the morning just after awakening, is supposed to steadily drop during the time one normally consumes breakfast. Of course, cortisol is one the body’s modulators of glucose and insulin action and, I believe, one of the reasons that stress, insulin sensitivity, eating breakfast and risk for obesity and metabolic disorders are related. Skipping breakfast, as most of you know, is linked with increased risk for obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. Among other things, the need for our bodies to maintain higher cortisol to sustain our glucose levels when we skip our breakfast meals (remember cortisol is a gluco -corticoid), diminishes our insulin sensitivity and increases the overall catabolic effect of cortisol- driving more metabolic dysfunction.