Breakfast and Blood Sugar
"Your breakfast establishes how readily your body can produce energy that day or, more specifically, the amount of sugar in your blood."
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Adelle Davis was a big proponent of getting enough protein at breakfast.The reason is that one's blood sugar stays up at optimum levels throughout the day only when enough protein is eaten at breakfast. What is "enough"? In Adelle's judgment, an average-size person should have about 60 grams of protein a day, and about 1/3rd of that at breakfast. That's 20 grams. That's rather difficult to do! An 8-ounce cup of milk is 8 grams. An egg is 6 grams. Two eggs and 8 oz of milk is thus 20 grams. A half cup of nonfat cottage cheese is 19 grams. Egg whites are 3 grams each, so you figure!
There's much medical discussion these days about over-doing it on protein. I've eaten her way for years, and cannot say it made me feel excellent, but it did give me regular awakeness and functionality. Coffee and donuts, delicious as they may be, clearly were not good for me over an extended period of time, when I tried that kind of breakfast in young adulthood. Now in my "peak of maturity" I'm having coffee and grass-fed milk before 10 am many days of the week, and feeling pretty darn good. Other days we have 1 or 2 eggs and some milk, but don't try for any specific amount of protein. So, should I get back into protein? We all have to work out what to do in this regard, what kind of health we want to build, what kinds of enjoyment are most important, whether we need to lose weight, etc. Perhaps it's time to read up on protein again.
From Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit "Your breakfast establishes how readily your body can produce energy that day or, more specifically, the amount of sugar in your blood. Your energy production, which corresponds to the quality of sugar available, determines how you think, act, and feel. Energy is produced in your body by the burning (oxidizing) of sugar alone or sugar and fat together. Only when the blood plasma contains adequate amounts of sugar can each cell select the quantity it needs. The amount of sugar in the blood is an index of the quantity available to each cell."
What follows is list of several different types of breakfasts, and the scientific measurement of blood sugar in volunteers who ate these breakfasts. Eating sugary breakfasts, like donuts etc., caused an extreme rise then fall of blood sugar. Eating the American-style breakfast of orange juice, bacon, toast, jam and coffee was very similar to just eating donuts and coffee. But when a glass of milk, fortified with more protein by adding powdered milk to it, was drunk with the American breakfast, "the blood sugar above normal and stayed at approximately 120 milligrams throughout the morning [that's an optimum level]; unusual well-being was experienced." Two eggs did the same thing as the glass of fortified milk.
"Studies similar to these have been conducted in many universities. The results have been consistently the same: well-being and the level of efficiency experienced during the hours after meals depend upon the amount of protein eaten. The meals which produced a real zest for living also contained some fat and a certain amount of carbohydrate." (p. 23, paperback version).
She warns of the dangers of too much fat and carbohydrate, but consistently recommends that small amounts of both be eaten together at meals. The reason is that our bodies cannot burn fuels efficiently without both fat and carbohydrate present in a meal. Dieters take note!
See also Adelle Davis Revisited: Sugars for more detail on how sugar is metabolized after eating.
Barnes & Noble,
ALERT: abbreviation for Adelle's book Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit
Alkaline: also called a base; a substance or chemical that has a low number of electrons in the outer shell, which gives the substance certain reactive properties; it is capable of combining with an acid to produce a salt
Amino Acids: An amphoteric organic amino acid containing the amino group NH2: esp: any of the alpha-amino acids that are the chief components of proteins and are synthesized by living cells or are obtained as essential components of the diet. They are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids contain nitrogen, unlike other foods. There are 22 kinds of amino acids. Thousands of kinds of proteins can be made from these 22 amino acids. (See "Essential Amino Acids" below.)
Atom: the basic unit of matter, generally thought to be composed of three kinds of smaller particles (protons, neutrons, and electrons), the number of the particles in the atom determining the observable properties that that substance has; generally, the nucleus of the atom is made of protons and neutrons, while the much smaller electrons orbit around the nucleus, one electron for each proton, in an arrangement of spherical shells, or so it has been conceived in the past; there are only about 100 different kinds of atoms in the universe, numbering from 1 (which is hydrogen, having one proton and one electron) to Lawrencium (having 103 protons and electrons) (See "Elements" below.)
Beriberi: a disease caused by B-vitamin deficiencies, marked by inflammatory or degenerative changes of the nerves, digestive system, and heart caused largely by a lack of, or inability to assimilate, the B vitamin thiamine, as well as other B vitamins
Bioflavonoids: Ketone derivatives that occur in many parts of primroses and other plants, and which enhance the activity of Vitamin C in humans; sometimes used as dyestuffs
Calorie: 1. One of two recognized units of heat. The large or great calorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water 1 degree Centigrade. The small calorie is the amount of heat required to raise one gram of water 1 degree Centigrade. 2. Physiol. The large calorie, a measure of the energy value of foods or the heat output of organisms./ An amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie.
Carbohydrates: Sugars, starches and cellulose; compounds containing carbon combined with hydrogen and oxygen, which break apart to release quick energy
Chemical: a substance derived by chemical processes, or used to create something through chemical processes; a chemical is usually composed of just one kind of molecule, or a specific blend of several kinds of molecules in specific proportions
Complete Protein: A protein food that contains all 8 essential amino acids, and thus is capable of supporting life if no other protein source is consumed.
Compound: a mixture of chemicals; also called a "chemical compound"
Element: a substance composed of just one kind of atom; look up "element" in your dictionary for a list of them; they can be gaseous, liquid or solid; there are 102 different kinds of elements, at last count.
Emulsified: when a substance has been blended into another substance in an emulsion
Emulsion: a combination of two liquids that normally will not mix, accomplished by breaking up one liquid into extremely tiny particles that remain suspended in the other liquid; most commonly, a combination of an oil or fat in a water-based liquid; oil-based vitamins are often treated this way in hopes they will be better absorbed in the digestive tract
Essential Amino Acids: Of the 22 amino acids, all but 8 can be manufactured in the body. These 8 amino acids must be obtained from foods; thus they are termed "essential." They are tryptophane, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, leucine, and isoleucine. Two more are sometimes essential to children: histidine and arginine. The proteins of beans (legumes) and grains have complementary essential amino acids, and when the two foods are eaten together, the resulting protein provides all 8 essential amino acids.
Essential Fatty Acids ("EFA's"): Fatty acids that the body cannot produce, and which are extremely important for myriad health processes. There are two types of EFA's: Omega-3 and Omega-6. They cannot be interchanged in the body. Omega-3's come largely from the green parts of plants (especially grass eaten by ruminants) but including some seeds, and the sea plankton eaten by fish. Omega-6's come from many seeds of plants and animals that eat them. Today, with most of our food animals being fed corn and other grains, Americans are extremely high in Omega-6's and deficient in Omega-3's, which can cause major health disorders. Many, many nutritionists are recommending supplementing the diet with Omega-3 EFA's as a preventative measure for myriad diseases. This was research that was just beginning to come to the public's attention in the 1980's; before that time, Adelle Davis was seeing the very earliest research when she commented on the linoleic, linolenic, and arachnidonic EFA's.
Fatty Acids: Any of numerous saturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acids, including many that occur naturally, usually in the form of esters in fats, waxes, and essential oils; any of the saturated or unsaturated monocarboxylic acids (as palmitic acid) usually with an even number of carbon atoms that occur naturally in the form of glycerides in fats and fatty oils
Iodide: any of several compounds containing iodine, artifically added to salt to prevent goiter, an enlarging of the thyroid gland of the throat due to deficiency of iodine; Adelle believed strongly in using real sea salt, or iodized salt
Iodine: chemical element number 53, using the symbol "I"; needed by the thyroid glands to produce the hormone thyroxin, which profoundly regulates growth and metabolism; certain soils that were once under the ocean (along the Atlantic Coast, and parts of Kansas, South Dakota, Utah, western Texas and New Mexico) have enough iodine to produce foods of adequate iodine content --- elsewhere, the only reliable sources are sea foods including ocean fish including shellfish, kelp of all kinds, and real sea salt (ALERT p. 181)
Mineral: homogeneous substance composed of molecules made of a combination of several elements, usually in solid and/or rock form, often as crystals, generally found in the ground and sea water (which contains all of the elements on Earth); when nutritionists speak of "minerals" they usually mean elements, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, many others; this website will use the term "mineral elements" for such chemicals
Nutrient: a general term for any substance in foods, or added to foods, that promotes health in describable ways
Organic: Adelle writes, "grown on humus-rich soil without the addition of artificial fertilizers" and in her day, the term "organic" meant food grown to be vibrantly health-promoting, full of life, close to nature, and all the indefineables we all know mean naturally grown on rich soil, managed by good farmers who keep down pests through their expertise and skills; in chemistry, the term "organic" simply means molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which all life is largely composed of; today, states and countries define the term differently, but it usually means food that does not have added artificial chemicals of any kind; such a term says little or nothing about the vibrancy of life in the food
Pellagra: a disease caused by a multiple B-vitamin deficiency, marked by dermatitis, gastrointestinal disorders, and central nervous system symptoms, and associated with a diet deficient in niacin, protein and other B vitamins (See "Beriberi" above.)
Protein: Unlike other living molecules, proteins contain nitrogen. They are made from "Amino Acids" (q.v.); there are thousands of kinds of proteins. The body is built largely of proteins. Therefore, meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs are excellent sources of protein.
Retinol: the original "vitamin A," which is the unadulterated compound found in animal fats, especially liver
Salt: the word itself is cognate to the Greek hals, meaning both "salt" and "sea"; sodium chloride, or "table salt", is just one type of salt, which generally means a residue left over from the evaporation of a large amount of water.
Sea salt: as a food labelling term, this means any kind of salt derived from the sea, even pure sodium chloride; usually this product has added iodide to protect against goiter, and some other chemical to keep it from attracting moisture. The term was popularized during the Health Food Movement when people made real sea salt by evaporating sea water and keeping all the crystals and compounds that were formed; the salts thus obtained are composed of all the numerous mineral elements on Earth, in proportions needed by the body (mineral elements occur in the blood in almost the identical proportions in which they occur in sea water). Ironically, there is more iodine in real sea salt than in the commercial product, and in its natural form. Yet the FDA has decreed that real sea salt must be labelled with the repelling words: "Does not contain iodide, a necessary nutrient." Currently we have not found any way to determine from the label whether anything called "sea salt" contains the numerous elements of the ocean, or only sodium chloride. Real sea salt (we make our own) is gray and stays moist due to its power to attract water from the air. Any salt that does not get wet has an added chemical, not required to be identified on the label.
Synergistic: When compound (or muscle) enhances the effectiveness of another compound (or muscle); compounds that work together in the body, an absence of one can cause inefficiency of the others; an oversupply of one or more synergistic compounds can cause a deficiency in the others; pertains especially to the B vitamins
Vitamin: literally means simply "life-giving"; a man-made chemical or naturally-occurring compound derived from foods, plants, or animals, that is essential to human health
Vitamin A: Fat-soluble vitamin obtained largely from animal sources (IF the animal is allowed to eat green plants, not grains, a rarity in the US today); the absence of vitamin A results in hardening (keratinizing) of the mucous membranes
Vitamin B: Water-soluble vitamin complex found especially in the germs of seeds, in yeasts, liver, and vegetables that have varied metabolic functions and include coenzymes and growth factors; the B vitamins work synergistically, and a deficiency of one or some may bring about deficiencies in others
Vitamin C: Water-soluble vitamin found largely in fruits and leafy vegetables, or made synthetically; absence of vitamin C causes scurvy, a breakdown of the cell walls of the body's cells; vitamin C detoxifies toxins in the body, and is used in food preparation to prevent destruction by oxygen
Vitamin D: Fat-soluble vitamins chemically related to steroids, essential for normal bone and tooth structure, and found esp. in fish-liver oils, egg yolk (from naturally-raised chickens), and milk (from grass-fed cows), or produced by activation (as by ultraviolet irradiation) of sterols: as vitamin D2, an alcohol usually prepared by irradiation of ergosterol and used as a dietary supplement in nutrition and medicinally in the control of rickets and related disorders, called also calciferol, or vitamin D3, an alcohol that is the predominating form of vitamin D in most fish-liver oils and is formed in the skin on exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays
Vitamin E: Fat-soluble vitamins that are chemically tocopherols, are essential in vertebrates for fertility, preventing muscle degeneration and vascular abnormalities; found especially in leaves and in seed germ oils; used chiefly in animal feeds and as antioxidants
Vitamin G: Riboflavin, one of the B vitamins
Vitamin H: Biotin, one of the B vitamins
Vitamin K: Two fat-soluble vitamins essential for blood clotting because they promote the production of prothrombin; can be produced in the intestine when yogurt is consumed
Vitamin P: Bioflavonoids; enhance the activity of vitamin C
Water-Miscible: a vitamin or other substance, normally not able to mix with water, that is altered to be able to be mixed into water without separating out; water-miscible vitamin A is ten times more toxic than oil-based vitamin A
Wheat Germ: Every seed has an embryo plant inside it called the "germ." It is the part that grows to become the new plant. This embryo is full of vitamins and protein. Since growing cells need B vitamins, the germ is rich in B vitamins. The germ is ground off and sold separately (sometimes it is given away) when wheat and rice are milled. The rest of the wheat and rice grain is mostly pure starch, without many B vitamins.
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