Lifestyle column: The best breakfast options for fat loss

Ben Hanton
Ben Hanton

Contrary to popular belief, consumption of granola, skimmed milk, fruit juice and wholegrains for breakfast is not conducive to fat loss.

These typical “healthy” breakfast options are all high in carbohydrates and low in both fat and protein. This is in fact the complete opposite of what we need first thing in the morning for optimal body composition.

We wake up in the morning in a fasted fat burning state. We have high levels of the hormones cortisol and growth hormone and low levels of insulin. Our bodies are breaking down triglycerides into free fatty acids for metabolism (we are burning our body fat for energy!).

The last thing we need to do at this point is consume a large amount of carbohydrates. What this does is raise insulin levels and shuts down fat burning.

Some research shows that fat burning remains vastly reduced throughout the whole day as a result of this insulin spike. Additionally, blood glucose levels will fall, causing the body to crave sweet foods throughout the morning to bring them back up.

In years gone by we have been led to believe that eliminating fat from our diet is the most effective way to lose body fat. At first glance this makes sense, however when we consider the essential roles of dietary fat within the body and what we are replacing dietary fats with (more carbohydrates generally), we can begin to understand why this is an ineffective approach. Consuming good sources of fat, contrary to popular belief, will actually aid fat loss rather than oppose it.

The body needs fat for many important functions, such as building hormones and healthy cell membranes. The addition of specific forms of dietary fat, such as medium chain triglycerides (found abundantly in coconut oil), have been shown to significantly increase our ability to utilise fat for fuel.

Looking now at protein, it is important to consume a high quality source of protein at breakfast because you need the amino acids to build and maintain muscle mass (muscle mass is essential for maximising metabolic rate, remaining insulin sensitive and preventing just about every health issue from joint problems to cardiovascular disease!). Additionally, it will make you feel fuller throughout the morning, stabilise your blood sugar levels and increase your metabolic rate (it requires more energy to digest protein than carbohydrates).

We can now see that the optimal breakfast for body composition should be low in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat. This means we should avoid bread, cereal and excessive fruit consumption and favour eggs, meats and nuts.

To further optimise this formula, try throwing in some additional fibre and antioxidants in the form of green vegetables or dark-skinned berries.

If you are interested in personal training or would just like to discuss your training and nutrition, get in touch with Ben Hanton at Elitas Fitness, Chichester. Contact Ben on 01243 920536 or via email

For more information about Elitas Fitness, visit their website