Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Does Breakfast Make Me Hungry? (Major Update July 16th)


“Why does breakfast make me hungry?” When someone asked me that question for the umpteenth time since my methods became popular, I finally decided to indulge in a deeper exploration of what the plausible mechanism might be. I thought I’d share my thoughts on that with you today.

Note: Major Update July 16th and July 17th. See "Closing Point: Addendum" and "Short addendum" at the end of the article, a few P.S's, and a complete list of references.

It’s a fairly lengthy article, but hopefully interesting enough to keep your attention, informative enough to teach you a few things, and decent enough to mark my return back into the love-hate-relationship I maintain with the Internet (…and its potpourri of good and bad, smart and dumb, facts and bullshit).

My heart sank when it seemed they had provided overwhelming evidence for the benefits of breakfast a few months ago. But I proved them wrong.

Why Does Breakfast Make Some People Hungry?

As mentioned, it wasn’t without grounds that the question piqued my curiosity beyond that which could be attributed to food selection. In questionnaires, clients would often note that eating in the morning made them ravenous before noon, and sometimes no more than an hour after a steady breakfast.

On Facebook, in emails, and in casual conversation, anecdotes to a similar effect kept popping up too frequently to be explained by mere coincidence. Or to be shrugged off with a half-assed answer, with the underlying assumption that everyone’s eating crap for breakfast.

These folks weren’t eating Cheerios rounded off with a peanut butter sandwhich and a large glass of orange juice – you know, the usual Average Joe breakfast that would make anyone hungry an hour later.

No, these guys had your typical fitcentric breakfast with the kinds of foods that most of us ate at one point or another – oatmeal, dairy, eggs, etc. Often, but certainly not that often since the increasing popularity of Paleo, a meal characterized by moderate to high amounts of carb and protein, relatively low on fat, and more often than not a decent chunk of fiber.

You can spend all day arguing about the healthiness of whole grains and dairy (just not here, thanks), but fact remains that these foods could not singlehandedly explain the fact that breakfast triggered hunger in some people.

Hell, just google “why does breakfast make me hungry”, “hungry after breakfast”, or “breakfast makes me hungry”, and you’ll see that forums are swamped by people with the same experiences.

I’ll add myself to the aforementioned crowd. Omitting breakfast may have been the single greatest improvement to my diet when I embarked on my intermittent fasting regimen back in ’06, adherence wise.

For me, like countless other Leangains practitioners, breakfast was a huge pain in the ass and skipping it made all the difference in the world. Compared to before, dieting became almost effortless.

Not to mention long-term maintenance. No more counting the hours ‘till noon, and feeling like I was on a diet, regardless of whether I was actually dieting, maintaining, or “bulking.”

My favorite "breakfast" these days is the all-you can-eat-beef-buffet at 6 PM or later.

For me and many others out there, skipping breakfast keeps hunger away far better than eating in the morning – paradoxically enough. This is of course very interesting to me, because it’s a damn strange thing. Why is it that some people are better off not eating anything at all in the morning? How can you be better off with zero calories than hundreds of calories under these specific conditions? It just doesn’t make sense.

So I set out trying to answer that question, and finally arrived at a satisfying hypothesis a mechanism behind that mysterious post-breakfast hunger surge that so many of us experience.

The original article ended up being 12000+ words long with a ridiculously pretentious academic tone, branching out in all kinds of directions on semi-related issues. Far too long for most people’s attention spans, and way too technical for most peoples level of understanding.

Yesterday I sat down and rewrote the whole thing, trying to convey it all in the same manner I’d use when explaining it to my girlfriend, bro, or invisible friend, to which I’ve retold this whole thing to numerous times now. That’s Berkhanese for “some things are simplified from my perspective, but it’s still complex enough for the lay man, and hopefully decent enough to satisfy the expert.” Enjoy.

* In regards to breakfast, I will be referring to breakfast in the traditional sense of the term throughout this article, i.e. eating upon arising. Not breakfast in the original sense of the meaning, i.e. as the first meal after an overnight fast.

Defining Post-Breakfast Hunger 

Trying to define post-breakfast hunger is an exercise in futility. It’s something you’ll instantly be able to relate to, because you have the same experience, or something that makes you wonder what the hell I’m talking about, because you simply don’t have that problem. I’m guessing most of my readers fall into the former category, so I won’t be spending much time on academic discourse in attempting to define the phenomenon beyond what I’ve already done. Simply put, some people get hungry, very hungry, and/or experience cravings of various magnitude shortly after eating breakfast in the morning.

In the scientific literature, researchers who specialize in research on appetite, hunger and addiction, make a distinction between the aforementioned terms (i.e. hunger, craving, etc), but since post-breakfast hunger has been described in subjective experiences from clients, forum posts, etc, and without any truly detailed inquiry from my side, I’m guessing most people refer to the same phenomena when they talk about post-breakfast hunger in terms of getting cravings, feeling hungry, feeling ravenous, and so forth. For me personally, the sensation can be described as hunger, in the sense most of you probably think of hunger.

Post-breakfast hunger sets in somewhere between morning and noon, usually 30 mins to 2 hours after breakfast, and doesn’t usually manifest in any symptoms beyond noticeable hunger. However, some people have mentioned that irritability and impaired ability to focus on tasks that require sustained amounts of concentration, co-occurs with post-breakfast hunger.

An important point is that the same meal will not trigger this early and/or pronounced sensation of hunger if consumed later in the day. Post-breakfast hunger cannot be explained by differences in food choice, but by certain individual factors, and their interaction with a time-of-day effect of feeding on hormonal profile and metabolism.

Cereal will make anyone hungry soon again, but an important point of this article is that post-breakfast hunger is independent of food choice (i.e. it cannot be attributed to the simple fact that people tend to eat different type of foods in the morning versus later in the day). By the way, the above is part of my post-workout meal, when I occasionally include a box of cereal. I might be having some beef, potatoes, and ice cream afterwards to celebrate the new deadlift PB I just scored. 600 lbs x 4 in case anyone's curious. Stay tuned for the video

A Primer on Cortisol

Cortisol is the main culprit behind for post-breakfast hunger, the up-until-now mysterious affliction that is the topic behind this article. Most of you probably associate cortisol with stress and muscle catabolism, and consequently with “bad” and “avoid.” This is partly correct, but mostly erroneous.

Since “partly correct” is to blame for many of the nonsensical diet myths out there, it’s useless. People claiming that eating six times a day will stoke your metabolism, and that fasting causes starvation mode, are “partly correct” – but mostly full of shit, as I explained in “Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked.”

The context is often critical, and this is especially true in regards to cortisol - which is why I’m going to give you a very brief primer on this complex and multi-facetted hormone. There are almost as many definitions of stress as there are myths about cortisol, but in regards to the former, the one that appeals to me from a minimalist perspective is:

Stress can be defined as any challenge to homeostasis of an individuum that requires an adaptive response of that individuum.

- Newport & Nemeroff, 2002.

Cortisol is secreted in response to a stressor, in order to help you cope with the stressor efficiently, whether that stressor is a balls-to-walls-set of 20-rep squats, or a looming deadline for an article that needs to be finished. The role of cortisol during these challenges is to boost you, not cripple you, whether the stressor is physical (e.g. exercise, injury, cold) or psychological (e.g. a complex or cognitively demanding challenge) in nature (or both).

Thanks to increasing cortisol levels during training, we can push way past our non-stressed comfort level, and maintain an adequate rate of exertion for a longer period of time than what would have been possible otherwise, without being overtly distracted by pain, hunger and fatigue. Cortisol improves muscle and glucose metabolism, increases pain tolerance, diminishes fatigue and strengthens motivation.

By the way, does this answer those of you who have asked me about my thoughts on pre-workout cortisol blockers? No? OK, then all I can say is good luck with those squats, buddy..

Due to cortisol in response to a cognitive challenge, we can recall important facts faster and in greater detail than otherwise, maintain focus, stay alert and pull all-nighters in front of the computer if needed. Cortisol increases sensory perception, memory recall, and wakefulness.

Most of the above is covered in Robert Sapolsky’s excellent book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, in which he also explains when and why cortisol becomes bad for us. Briefly, prolonged exposure to a stressor results in chronically elevated cortisol, which then does all sorts of bad things to us. There’s a time and place for cortisol. In this day and age, the line between work (stress) and leisure time (rest) is often blurred.

With constant self-imposed demands, never ending obligations, and endless opportunities to work (in the office, at home, etc), the stressors of modern society are of the psychological variety and they are always present if you allow them in.

In stark contrast, the stressors of the past were more often of the intermittent and physical variety. While they were probably more severe and often life threatening, there was a clear-cut line between the start and the end. And this explains the title of Sapolsky’s book, which I cannot recommend highly enough, and which I urge you to read if you want a more detailed explanation of stress and the workings of cortisol.

What Sapolsky doesn’t cover in great detail however, is the cortisol awakening response and the acute effects of cortisol on insulin secretion.

The Cortisol Awakening Response

Most people get the concept of exercise and work as stressors, “challenges to homeostasis”, which require an adaptive response (cortisol). But few people think of waking up from sleep and rising out of bed as a particularly stressful event. However, waking up from sleep is indeed a profound challenge to homeostasis, if you think of stress in those terms.

The transitioning between the passive sleeping state to the active wake state is – in a way – like a leisurely walk interrupted by an all-out-sprint. In endocrinology, there’s a special name for the events that transpire to wake you up in the morning: the cortisol awakening response (CAR), on which there exists a substantial amount of research.

Awakening stimulates ACTH secretion in the pituitary, which then stimulates cortisol secretion in the adrenal glands. The rapid increase and peak in cortisol level after awakening is termed the cortisol awakening response (CAR). Although it is thought that CAR is a distinct part of diurnal cortisol rhythm, CAR and diurnal cortisol rhythm actually represent two separate adrenocortical activities.

- Shin et al., 2011.

As the body prepares to start up for the day, cortisol gradually starts to rise in the second half of the night, almost resulting in a climax as you open your eyes. But as you waddle out of bed on the way to the shower, cortisol will continue to climb. It will reach a peak 30-45 minutes later – which is right around breakfast time.

We’ve now reached a key point in this hypothesis behind post-breakfast hunger, because the precise timing of the circadian cortisol peak (CAR) and breakfast consumption has some very interesting effects on insulin secretion.

The Cortisol Awakening Response and Insulin Secretion

So you’ve taken your shower, dressed for the day, and done whatever else you like to do in the morning that’s none of my business, and now you sit down to eat breakfast before work, school, or whatever else. I’m guessing it’s now some 30-45 minutes after you stepped out of bed if you’re like most people.

As you sit down to eat, or at some point right around that time, cortisol reaches the highest point of the day, which would be 20-30 nmol/l. That’s compared to 2-5 nmol/l between evening and midnight, which is the lowest point during the circadian cycle if you want some numbers. It might go higher later during the day depending on the magnitude of stress you’re exposed to, but that’s besides the point.

The early insulin response to a meal is higher in the morning than in the afternoon, and this fact can only partially be explained by a moderately increased secretion of incretins. Rapid non-genomic effects of higher cortisol levels in the morning might be, at least in part, responsible for this finding.
- Vila et al., 2011.

The point is that the circadian cortisol peak coincides with breakfast, and that this is the only point during the day that cortisol reaches high enough levels to exert an acute and pronounced effect on feeding-induced insulin secretion.

If that sounds vague for the endocrinology enthusiasts out there and those of you who are familiar with cortisol, allow me to provide you with a brief explanation in language you can appreciate it. What I mean here is that, at the CAR peak, cortisol climbs high enough to agonize glucocorticoid receptors. This changes the non-genomic interaction between cortisol and insulin action from being permissively restraining by the former, as seen at other times during the day due to mineralocorticoid binding dominance, to a non-genomic stimulating, or synergistic if you will, effect (Vila et al., 2010; Dallman et al., 1995)

If the last paragraph doesn’t make much sense to you, then you know why I had to rewrite the whole article and simplify it.

Short-term* exposure to cortisol powerfully augments insulin secretion and this is the key point here.

* In stark contrast, long-term exposure has the opposite effect.

Average Joe Eats Breakfast

So, what happens then, as you start eating? Bad things? No, not necessarily, depending on the other variables in this equation – more on that very soon.

Enter Average Joe, who is average as it gets, with all its implications. Meaning fat, poor insulin sensitivity, and out of shape, according to our standard, but average according to the standard for modern man used in the scientific literature.

Average Joe sits down to eat his breakfast, and due to the influence of cortisol, his pancreas responds with a rapid and – relative to other points during the day, all else equal – high burst of insulin. This forces blood glucose down faster to baseline than later in the day, which in this context is a desirable effect.

Although the feeding-induced insulin peak comes much faster and is much higher, due to the meal coinciding with the circadian cortisol peak, the net effect should be that average insulin secretion and blood glucose in the post-prandial period post-breakfast is lower than later in the day, under a low-cortisol fed condition. In a way, Average Joe’s sluggish pancreas might actually benefit from the augmented insulin response in the morning,

That’s Average Joe. But what about Fit Joe? This is when it gets interesting.

Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Resistance: Brief Primer

Something has always struck me as very peculiar and far too common of an observation to be coincidental.

When I first started dieting way back in the day, I did just fine with on your run-of-the-mill high meal frequency diet, with your run-of-the-mill fitcentric oatmeal based breakfast. I started out pretty fat at around 225 lbs, and lost about 40 lbs give or take, on a fairly generic approach mostly.

Sure enough, I did tons of beginner mistakes, especially in the cardio department (overdoing it), and subsequently suffered for it. I had my setbacks, like everyone else, but I powered through them all. I wrote about this journey a few years ago, in case you care to read more about it. There’s a few photos from back in the day too, which does a decent job of showing my overall development throughout the years.

Anyway, it wasn’t until at a later stage, leanness wise, that breakfast really started becoming a problem. First of all, I always felt that it was an unnecessary caloric burden that interfered with dieting. I wasn’t that hungry in the morning, but more so in the evening.

I would never have been able to maintain this conditioning with breakfast.

Had I known better back then, I would have started skipping breakfast earlier, of course, but back then everyone was preaching the virtues of breakfast and you didn’t really dare to break all these golden rules of the fitness game.

(And you’d still be eating breakfast if I didn’t put my ass on the line to set you straight 5-6 years ago, or whenever you first read my stuff. Am I right or am I right?)

Second of all, it seemed like the post-breakfast hunger surge increased in amplitude and frequency for every damn ounce of body fat I lost beyond a certain point. At some point, it became overwhelming, and that’s when the wheel-spinning started, progress wise. Until I finally decided to do my own research, no longer swallowing down the bullshit fed to me by so-called fitness gurus and the Journal of Broscience. The rest is history.

Anyway, let me put my labcoat back on again, and explain to you how this fits in with everything else I’ve talked about so far. We’ve now reached the second key point in this hypothesis behind post-breakfast hunger. The first key point, as you might recall, was the CAR and its peak coinciding with breakfast.

The second key point is insulin sensitivity. What happens when an insulin sensitive person eats something? Briefly, rising blood glucose levels feeds back to the pancreas (i.e. tells it that insulin is needed), and the pancreas responds with insulin. In turn, insulin then shuttles glucose from the blood to places where its needed (e.g. liver and muscle), which lowers blood glucose and prevents it from accumulating in the blood.

High blood glucose levels for longer periods of time (as seen in untreated type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity, etc) does all sorts of bad things to us, which is why we want to bring it back to a healthy baseline as soon as possible. This is why high insulin sensitivity is a good thing.

If you’re insulin sensitive, the pancreas responds fast, with a big burst of insulin, in response to glucose, and then tapers off when it’s no longer needed. A sharp peak of insulin, with a prompt decline. The net result is lower readings of post-prandial blood glucose and insulin levels.

In contrast, insulin resistance results in a sluggish response, with a small burst of insulin, and a slow decline. The net result is higher readings of post-prandial blood glucose and insulin.

Imagine a graph tracking insulin secretion in the post-prandial period, with time on the X-axis and insulin on the Y-axis. Now picture a peak-like pattern for an insulin sensitive person, and a hill-like pattern for an insulin resistant person – that’s how it would look.

An important point in the above scenario is that insulin reaches a higher max in the insulin sensitive example.

Insulin and Blood Glucose Regulation

Recall that cortisol augments insulin secretion. When you have high levels of cortisol (i.e. at the peak of the CAR) and eat something, insulin secretion is boosted. The pancreas responds faster and stronger.

But Fit Joe already boasts a really robust insulin response, because he is insulin sensitive. Now add the insulin boosting effect of CAR on top of that, and what do you get? In theory, a very strong and sharp insulin surge. And what is the consequence of that?

Put differently – just as an example – what is the consequence of injecting too much insulin relative to needs (i.e. glucose)? If you overdo it by a wide margin, you risk all the horrors of life threatening hypoglycemia, with the result being extreme hunger, confusion, coma, brain damage and death, in that order.

While the above presents a real danger for diabetics, it doesn’t for healthy individuals. We have evolved an extremely efficient regulatory system for preventing blood glucose from dropping too low, to levels where it can compromise bodily functions and cognition, and impair our chances for survival.

Indeed, blood glucose regulation is a very secure system, with redundant mechanisms able to increase glucose output to meet needs in case one part of the system fails. Glucagon, epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol and growth hormone are different hormones that cooperate to fulfill the role of another in case it fails to do its job properly.

But this system has not evolved to deal with blood glucose that is just low enough to trigger hunger, without any serious side effects beyond that. In fact, low blood glucose as a hunger signal was the focus of one of the earliest theories on appetite regulation.

Why Does Breakfast Make Fit Joe Hungry?

In the “glucostatic theory”, Jean Mayer in the 1950’s proposed that low blood sugar served as the primary hunger-triggering signal that prompted us to feed (Mayer, 1953). Later studies has taught us that appetite regulation is way more complicated than that, but there is clearly a role for blood glucose in this equation.

Building on Mayer’s theory, Campfield has proposed a more complex and refined theory, in which he – briefly summarized – suggests that falling blood glucose levels might serve as a hunger signal (Campfield & Smith, 2003). This has been echoed elsewhere, in the sense that the speed of which blood glucose falls can serve as an alarm signal in a sense – while a prompt lowering of post-prandial blood glucose levels is desirable, too steep of a decline can be interpreted as danger, and trigger a hunger signal.

So when insulin sensitive Fit Joe eats breakfast right at the peak of his CAR, he gets a lot of insulin to go with that meal, with the result being a very speedy drop in blood glucose.

Now consider the meal itself. What does a typical fitcentric breakfast look like? Odds are that it’s higher on the protein and carb side of things, low on fat, and quite often includes a source of dairy or milk protein. Any one of these components further contributes to insulin secretion, independent of each other.

As a consequence of the above, hunger rears its ugly face shortly after the meal. Either as a result of blood glucose dipping slightly to low, or as a result of it dropping too fast within a narrow time-frame.

Putting It All Together

And that, my friends, was my abbreviated explanation for post-breakfast hunger. If you give it some thoughts, it fits right in with my personal experience, my observations, and the many anecdotes I’ve come across throughout the years.

Post-breakfast hunger is something that occurs more frequently, and more noticeably so, in fairly lean individuals. I’d estimate that it’s fairly common in the 12-14% range. As you close in on single digit body fat percentage, it becomes very common indeed - and a serious obstacle for many.

Gradually, as we get leaner, we become more insulin sensitive. Little by little, as insulin sensitivity goes up, we get hungrier faster and more annoyingly so after breakfast, until we start wondering why we’re starving a mere 1-2 hours after a decently sized meal.

In a sense, it’s funny that blood glucose regulation works better in the fasted state, relative to the aforementioned breakfast scenario. It’s understandable when you consider that in the fasted state, you have balance between input and output, which in this analogy would be glucose and insulin. Glucose input to the blood is low and is well maintained with a low level of insulin in an insulin sensitive person.

With breakfast, insulin output is disproportionate to the input (breakfast), due to cortisol. A mismatch that would otherwise not be present under different circumstances (i.e. the same meal eaten later in the day, with low cortisol, or by someone with lower insulin sensitivity).

All of this raises interesting questions regarding the role of the cortisol-insulin connection, or dare I say breakfast consumption, and adaptation (or absence thereof) in the role of human evolution and its consequences for modern man, with his modern meal patterns.

Very interesting indeed, when you consider the events that transpire on a metabolic and transcriptional level once you combine cortisol and insulin. Not to mention the role of cortisol in place preference conditioning, learning, and the fact that even though breakfast-first-thing-in-the-morning is an artificial habit, manufactured by one of the first and possibly largest giant of the food industry (The Kellogg’s Company), it certainly is a habit we learned very fast.

But that’s for another time. Or for another one smart enough to recognize the clues to something big that I just handed them. Assuming they give a shit.

Closing Point

As a closing point, I want to point out that there were a few things that I had to cut out, since this article is long enough as it is. I figure that I should mention them very briefly by stating that there is a high degree of individual variance in the CAR, and that this might affect insulin secretion as well (i.e. a high CAR may have a larger influence on the feeding-induced insulin surge).

Furthermore, there is obviously a big role of food and macronutrient choice in all of this, but the role played may not be one that people typically expect. For example, some protein sources – or should I say, amino acids - are not only highly insulinogenic, but also trigger cortisol secretion. Incidentally, it tends to be the ones often consumed with breakfast.

Perhaps I need not mention that protein triggers a cortisol response, depending on the context (Benedict et al., 2005; Gibson et al., 1999; Slag et al., 1981). Oh, you thought that it was the other way around – that protein lowers cortisol? Well, then you learned another little something new today.

Maybe I’ll talk more about this another day, because there were many related and interesting semi-related parts to the topic of this article that I had skimp on, or cut out. Hopefully, time and motivation permits. I don’t trust myself to give any guarantees for the latter, unfortunately. But for the time and being, I’m back.

Closing Point: Addendum (July 16th)

An important point, which I should have accentuated and expanded upon, is the high degree of individual variability present among the hormonal factors within the equation that might predispose people to post-breakfast hunger. I wrote:

Post-breakfast hunger cannot be explained by differences in food choice, but by certain individual factors, and their interaction with a time-of-day effect of feeding on hormonal profile and metabolism.

More appropriately, my hypothesis states that it's the magnitude of these certain individual factors. Obviously, there are plenty of people who eat breakfast and do just fine. Some of whom probably need to eat breakfast in order to function optimally, and a portion of those that tolerate fasting poorly.

It should also go without saying that leanness and high insulin sensitivity does not inevitably bring about post-breakfast hunger, since there are tons of lean people who do not experience it. High insulin sensitivity are merely one of the factors that I believe plays a key role - and although leanness correlates strongly with insulin sensitivity*, there is a good degree of individual variance at any fixed level of body fat percentage.

*Specifically, visceral adipose tissue - not subcutaneous - predicts insulin sensitivity. However, low body fat means relatively low amounts of visceral fat, if you got to that point with a healthy and wholesome diet (i.e. with a decent fatty acid composition).

What are the other key factors - or variables - that determines the response? On top of insulin sensitivity, there is a very high degree of intra-individual variability when it comes to the CAR. I wrote:

 ...There is a high degree of individual variance in the CAR, and that this might affect insulin secretion as well (i.e. a high CAR may have a larger influence on the feeding-induced insulin surge).

My original article included a much longer section on CAR, in which I mentioned a few factors that should predict a high CAR, which in turn would predispose one to post-breakfast hunger. However, there are so many discrepancies and inconsistent findings on the subject within the scientific literature, that I choose to not delve into in such great detail. It would have been too speculative for my taste. This is also the current consensus on the topic in the scientific literature:

...The CAR literature is so inconsistent with regard to associations with trait psychosocial and health measures. 
...It is likely that different trait factors may be associated with different aspects of the regulatory puzzle, making it very difficult to tease apart.

- Clow et al., 2010.

Insulin sensitivity is easy to predict (body fat percentage), CAR is not - but I know there's some companies that provide kits for measuring salivary cortisol at home, and those are fairly reliable, I think. Anyone who's really interested in knowing their CAR might consider going that route.

There is one fairly consistent finding when it comes to the CAR; it's higher among women (Fries et al., 2009; Clow et al., 2010. Coincidentally, quite a few women have reported to me that they experience post-breakfast hunger - but  the role of CAR in all of this is anyone's guess, as is the relative contribution of each of these factors. After all, all of this is a hypothesis of mine, based on empirical research, endocrinology, and scientific theory.

The third important factor, which unquestionably plays a very important role in this, is food and meal composition, where you would have rapidly absorbing high-glycemic and highly insulinogenic meals (think toast, or cereal and milk) on one extreme end and low-glycemic low-insulinogenic meals on the other. The standard fitcentric breakfast that made me so ravenous for all those years falls somewhere in between. I usually had oatmeal, cottage cheese, whole grain bread, protein shakes, etc, in various combinations.

Someone in comments asked what you should eat if you happen to break the fast shortly after awakening. First of all, you need to ask yourself if you're hungry after whatever it is you're eating right now. No? Then there's obviously no need to start fixing and changing because you read a bunch of yang-yang on All this theory and speculation, however fancy and educated that speculation happens to be, is always secondary to real life results.

That said, assuming you do seem to be experiencing post-breakfast hunger after breaking the fast in the morning, I would definitely recommend cutting down on carbs in favor for fat and a solid protein source. Solid meaning chewable, meaning meat.

Aside from a change in macrocomposition, I would also consider some common sense fixes depending on needs. Cutting down on caloric density and increasing volume (e.g. by replacing some food items with veggies, ideally crucificerious veggies) is almost always a good idea.

Short addendum, July 17th

I added a quote by Vila (2011) to the article. Nothing new, just a little something in support of what I wrote about the CAR and insulin secretion:

The early insulin response to a meal is higher in the morning than in the afternoon, and this fact can only partially be explained by a moderately increased secretion of incretins. Rapid non-genomic effects of higher cortisol levels in the morning might be, at least in part, responsible for this finding.

Lastly, I should mention that the original article included a few more mechanisms by which breakfast may trigger hunger in some. However, I felt that the article was already too long, and would get way too technical and confusing for most people if I veered off into several directions. Furthermore, the blood glucose mechanism for post-breakfast hunger seemed like the most likely candidate. That said, it's interesting to note that Vila (2011) also demonstrated a direct effect of concurrent glucose and cortisol administration on PYY, a key hormone involved in appetite regulation:

The modulation of PYY plasma levels suggests the possible non-genomic effects of glucocorticoids on appetite-regulatory hormones.

However, in that study they used intravenous glucose, which makes the relevance of these results to real life settings questionable.


In case anyone’s wondering where I’ve been, especially those of you used to reading my frequently updated nonsense on Twitter and Facebook, only to see me disappear from the face of the Earth for the last two months.

An “I’ve been busy” type of response won’t do this time around. That would be a disservice to my true and loyal fans, many of who do a terrific job of directing others to the enlightenment they come to discover here. Not to mention an insult to those I’ve had to break important obligations to – you know who you are, and you will hear from me soon.

To make a long story short, an unfortunate chain of events forced me to take time off from everything. Literally everything on the online side of things, which is more or less like saying time off from work.

In either case, I’m back now. I understand that my work here is not yet done, and I shall finish what I started. Or die trying.

A special thanks to those of you who emailed me and wrote about the role I played in your life, development, career choice, inquired about my health, and reminded me of the important role I have come to play for some people. The few times I checked my inbox, it seems that there was yet another email from one of you, and I appreciated every single one of them. Here’s to hoping that I’ll get back to you one day.

Thanks for the support.

P.S. That deadlift video I talked about earlier in the article: deadlifting 600 lbs x 4 on Leangains intermittent fasting. Stay tuned for more videos. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to be sure you don't miss 'em.

P.S.S. By the way, while you're over on YouTube, you might also want to check out the Hodge Twins talking about Leangains and intermittent fasting. Nothing new if you've read my stuff, but these guys are pretty hilarious. I can certainly appreciate them spreading the good word about intermittent fasting and killing off all these diet myths the way I've done here for years.

Lastly, I thought I'd mention that I'm once again quite active on Twitter and The Leangains Facebook Page. Feel free to follow me and join in the conversation.

Reference List 

Benedict, C., Hallschmid, M., Scheibner, J., Niemeyer, D., Schultes, B., Merl, V., Fehm, H. L., et al. (2005). Gut protein uptake and mechanisms of meal-induced cortisol release. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 90(3), 1692–1696. doi:10.1210/jc.2004-1792

Campfield, L. A., & Smith, F. J. (2003). Blood glucose dynamics and control of meal initiation: a pattern detection and recognition theory. Physiological Reviews, 83(1), 25–58. doi:10.1152/physrev.00019.2002

Clow, A., et al., The cortisol awakening response: More than a measure of HPA axis function. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.12.011

Dallman MF, Akana SF, Strack AM, Hanson ES, Sebastian RJ. The neural network that regulates energy balance is responsive to gluco- corticoids and insulin and also regulates HPA axis responsivity at a site proximal to CRF neurons. Stress: Basic Mechanisms Clin Implicat 1995; 771: 730±742.

Fries, E., Dettenborn, L., Kirschbaum, C., 2009. The cortisol awakening response (CAR): facts and future directions. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 72, 67–73.

Gibson, E. L., Checkley, S., Papadopoulos, A., Poon, L., Daley, S., & Wardle, J. (1999). Increased salivary cortisol reliably induced by a protein-rich midday meal. Psychosomatic Medicine, 61(2), 214–224.

MAYER, J. (1953). Glucostatic mechanism of regulation of food intake. The New England journal of medicine, 249(1), 13–16. doi:10.1056/NEJM195307022490104

Newport, D.J. and Nemeroff, C.B. (2002) Stress. In: (Ed. in chief), Encyclopedia of the Human Brain, Vol. 4. Elsevier, pp. 449-462.

Shin, I.-Y., Ahn, R.-S., Chun, S.-I., Lee, Y.-J., Kim, M.-S., Lee, C.-K., & Sung, S. (2011). Cortisol Awakening Response and Nighttime Salivary Cortisol Levels in Healthy Working Korean Subjects. Yonsei Medical Journal, 52(3), 435. doi:10.3349/ymj.2011.52.3.435

Slag, M. F., Ahmad, M., Gannon, M. C., & Nuttall, F. Q. (1981). Meal stimulation of cortisol secretion: a protein induced effect. Metabolism, 30(11), 1104–1108.

Therrien, F., Drapeau, V., Lupien, S. J., Beaulieu, S., Doré, J., Tremblay, A., & Richard, D. (2008). Awakening cortisol response in relation to psychosocial profiles and eating behaviors. Physiology & Behavior, 93(1-2), 282–288. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.08.019

Vila, G., Krebs, M., Riedl, M., Baumgartner-Parzer, S. M., Clodi, M., Maier, C., Pacini, G., et al. (2010). Acute effects of hydrocortisone on the metabolic response to a glucose load: increase in the first-phase insulin secretion. European journal of endocrinology / European Federation of Endocrine Societies, 163(2), 225–231. doi:10.1530/EJE-10-0282


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Clintus said...

Great post. Welcome back mate.

Clint Nielsen said...

Welcome back mate :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yet another awesome article.

Peter Morgan said...

Damn I'm glad you're back!

Peter Morgan said...

Damn I'm glad you're back!

mr hankey said...

so glad you're finally back :)

DwE said...

So glad to see you back! You make my world go 'round and you're one of the many good "gurus" out there. Hope things look up!

zazendo said...

Good to see you back, Martin. I was perusing the blog thru the older posts when this new one popped up in my reader. Made my day. Looking forward to more.

jules said...

Welcome back!

Furor Germanicus said...

Glad to hear that you're back in action and still kickin' ass. Things were slowly getting boring ;)

Anyway, great article Martin - I'll make sure to spread the word!

greetings from Germany

Furor Germanicus

yurainie barboza said...

yuo are very crazy, but i like

Anonymous said...

I. Am. So. Happy.
Great comeback article Martin, I wish to have a level of understanding nutrition and health you possess, one day.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant article, going to need to read it again as its 1am where I am and my eyes are about to fuse shut. Welcome back. Sam

Unknown said...

Holy Crap. Thank you. Please don't listen to people when they post retarded comments below me because they are most certainly guaranteed.

Jon Fernandes said...

The Return of Martin Berkhan, fawk out da whey!

Good article man, glad to see you healthy and contributing to the fitness world.

Anonymous said...

Great Article, welcome back!!

Anonymous said...

Yay he's back! Just curious, what kind of cereal is that?

Jason said...

Thanks Dude,

I'm glad you didn't die.

Svein said...

What is your view on carb back-loading (bio-rythm diet @blade)?

And when it comes to gaining muscle, what is your response to Layne Norton's research on optimal protein consumption? I know it could be viewed as a minimal gain, not worth the trouble for a normal person.. but all in all could there be any gains? Im not talking about the BCAA consumption between meals, but the large protein feeding every 4-5th hour for an increased protein synthesis.

I have followed both carb back-loading (or the bio-rythm diet presented by blade) and gained massive results by incorporating a few other of my ideas. (88kg - 81kg over a period of 6 weeks going from 15% to 9% with no hunger).

I have also followed IF my first time going down (103kg - 82kg) so I am very pleased and use the method frequently on my clients and ofcourse recommend all your articles!

Svein said...

What is your view on carb back-loading (bio-rythm diet @blade)?

And when it comes to gaining muscle, what is your response to Layne Norton's research on optimal protein consumption? I know it could be viewed as a minimal gain, not worth the trouble for a normal person.. but all in all could there be any gains? Im not talking about the BCAA consumption between meals, but the large protein feeding every 4-5th hour for an increased protein synthesis.

I have followed both carb back-loading (or the bio-rythm diet presented by blade) and gained massive results by incorporating a few other of my ideas. (88kg - 81kg over a period of 6 weeks going from 15% to 9% with no hunger).

I have also followed IF my first time going down (103kg - 82kg) so I am very pleased and use the method frequently on my clients and ofcourse recommend all your articles!

Anonymous said...

Lol WTF is the first image. I hope you accepted her offer.

morganandrew said...

Welcome back, it's good to hear all's fine and well. Great article and congrats on the new PB. Let's try not to die trying until we see Joffrey Baratheon's head on a spike, eh?

Paleo Suz said...

Glad you're back!

I've always wondered this - it's so counter intuitive, but finally, an explantation!

James Krieger said...

Nice to see you back Martin!

James Krieger said...

Nice to see you back Martin!

Anonymous said...

Great to see you back!

It has now been quite accurately one year since I started intermittent fasting. I have lost nearly 25 kg during this time and learned a LOT about nutrition. Hopefully your new articles will enlighten an ever-growing amount of people about intermittent fasting and leangains. Thanks so much for keeping up the good and bullshit-free work!

Hope you enjoy youy summer! Cheers.

Michael McIntyre said...

Welcome back Martin. Great post as usual, keep them coming and pay no mind to what others are saying about you

ChikaraMike said...

What about leptin and glucagon? To write an entire article on hunger without mentioning leptin seems to leave out a big part of the picture.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing your future work! Best of luck!

Michael McIntyre said...

Welcome back, back with a bang. Keep em coming Martin

pbo said...

Thanks for another awesome post Martin! Well done.

pbo said...

Awesome post Martin! Makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I noticed when I do eat breakfast my low fat meals tend to result in a slight headache and low blood sugar symptoms. If I include just a bit more fat, problem seems to go aways. I only noticed this during breakfast.

jacobsenart said...

Great article man. Been wondering about CAR in regards to intermittent fasting(positive or negative) for a while. Nice to see something along those lines from you. Would love to know more about what you think about CAR effects on training in the AM or PM.
Keep it coming.
Forever grateful.

jacobsenart said...

Great article man. I'd been wondering about the effects of CAR on IF, Cool to see something from you on this would love to see more. Would love to know what you think about CAR effects on AM vs PM training protocols.

Forever grateful for your work man, keep it up.

Michael said...

When I heard you had a new blog post out, I immediately stopped everything and went straight to my computer to read it. It's like when I used to watch LOST, except I don't know when the next one will occur :)

Pete said...

What does this all mean for the early morning exercisers? We are jacking the cortisol when it is at it's peak. Should that be a concern?

IcedCoffee said...

Also interesting is how poorly IF works for people with cortisol problems.

So if you want to eat breakfast, eat lots of fats! Whole eggs were always the best for me to control hunger.

Sean Golden said...

Very glad you're back. Though I have a habit of not leaving comments when I probably should, I had to for this article.
Thank you for being so detailed, scientific, and trustworthy. You're one of the few, and I greatly appreciate it.

(btw, for what it's worth, I usually end up liking the longer articles better than the shorter ones.)

Mark Anthony said...

Great post.. you have no idea how many people i've hooked onto your way of IF.

It seems that the biggest problem many of them had was giving up eating around the morning time.

However, it seems that many of them have had good progress even after cheating and giving into the morning meal once a week.

Best of wishes to you and your endeavors and I hope you keep writing!

Jeremy said...

Great article! Glad your back!

Ronnie James Dio said...


Just want to let you know that even if you never write another article, I appreciate all you've given us so far. Thank you.

Lloyd said...

a) welcome back.
b) your work is brilliant. you've converted me, and I can't see returning to my old ways any time soon (maybe ever).

c) If you could manage to lift immediately upon waking for 30 minutes or so, is there any reason you couldn't take anabolic advantage of an insulin spike within the CAR? stated differently, would that yield any extra advantages to the Early Morning Fasted Training protocol if timed properly with BCAAs post-lift?

Anonymous said...

Great article and great to have you back.


Nate Miyaki said...

Nice to have you back Martin. Hope all is well offline so we can have you back online.

Anonymous said...

I went away from home for five weeks. Came back and my mom asked me if I was doing drugs. Then she asked if I was starving myself. Due to the efficacy of your protocol, my mom doesn't trust me anymore. Thanks asshole.

Seriousness aside, you do great work. Looking forward to all things Leangains related to come.

Ross said...

A great, well-researched article as always, Martin! Since finding your site, I've read it almost all the way through, as well as various other articles I've found of yours and the LG thread on Lyle's forum and it's all great stuff.

With my new 12-8pm eating time, and an old-school PT 3x a week in the evenings helping me focus on bench/squats/deadlift/chins, I'm well on my way. But, one thing I'd love to see is a quick guide on how to calculate nutrition/macros.

From my reading, I've gleaned this:
- Did a DEXA scan to get 29% BF (110Kg x 71% = 78.1Kg LBM)
- Used this with Katch-McArdle and a "light activity" multiplier to get TDEE of 2828 cals
- Found something that recommended for a LG cut that I want to do TDEE -/- 10/30% on Workout/Rest rather than the normal TDEE +/- 20/20% for body comp
- Have decided to follow Andy's ( LG principles of 210g every day (3g*LBM), 30/60g workout/rest fat and filling the rest of the calories with carbs (350/150g workout/rest)

I know you're often reluctant to give out specific advice without private consulting, but it'd be great if you could at least indicate whether I'm on the right track, or if I'm an idiot and way off.

My current feeling is that 150g carb on a rest day is a bit high and that given I'm already 30% under TDEE on this day that I could increase my fat intake a bit to lower the carbs.

Anyway, here's hoping you get a chance to reply to this.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I hope your rest left you recharged and ready to rock our worlds again. :)

Anonymous said...

Good to know you're doing well and very good to see you back

sam said...

you coming back has made my week! you're seriously awesome, I'm glad things are going better for you now

Maz said...

Hmmm, interesting article.

I wonder if this cortisol/insulin response has anything to do with my experience of waking up super hungry if I've had a big meal before sleeping, as opposed to waking not hungry at all if going to bed on an empty stomach.

Mikael L said...

I can't tell you how good it is to read one of your articles again! Welcome back.

Post breakfast hunger is definitely something I experience the very few times I eat early. Tried lifting 1-2 hours after early breakfast once and it got me somewhere in between confusion and coma, not an enjoyable experience.

Here's hoping you're able to stay motivated and keep churning out great articles. You're second to none in my book.

Noah said...

In the section titled "The Cortisol Awakening Response and Insulin Secretion" there should be a correction in "I’m guessing it’s now some 30-45 minutes BEFORE you stepped out of bed if you’re like most people." all caps word should be AFTER. You can delete this comment.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I would like to use the opportunity to ask a simple question.
I see that you recommend a week with 4x -20% maintenance days at the rest days and 3x +20% at the workout days for the average body reconstitution, the question is, with such a small weekly deficit, how the body fat % go lower? Also, is it valid for not-that-lean-people with bf at 20%+ ?
Thank you for your time, please answer me if you can.

Mike N said...

As always, thank you for the article.

In the pictures posted, the look in your eyes seems to show someone more at peace. I truly hope that is the case, and wish you all the best, Martin.

*Minor edit: "I’m guessing it’s now some 30-45 minutes before you stepped out of bed if you’re like most people." I think you mean "after you stepped out"

**Excellent use of the word waddle

OscarR said...

Excellent article as always, Martin. This is particulary interesting for me because I have been wondering myself a quite long time now why I feel so hungry after my first pwo meal which makes me capable of taking 2.5kcal in one sitting. I know understand my body a little bit more, thanks and I'm glad you're back.

HooligaN said...

And what about breakfast with no carbs? For example, whole egg + extra virgin coconut oil + spinach?

HooligaN said...

And what about breakfast with no carbs? For example, whole egg + extra virgin coconut oil + spinach?

Languish said...

Been following IF now for a few months... Skipping breakfast was surprisingly easy and amazingly effective. Brilliant site - everything has changed dramatically for me since abandoning fuckarounditis for Leangains. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

nice come back Martin,
great to hear form you again!The part about the artificial needs that food companies like Kellogg's implanted on us is a sad truth that needs to be accepted from everyone.They are the ones that need to blamed for all the misfortune and agony people feel about their physical conditions.In the near future i hope we will see more experts leaving behind their safe lives and start shouting like you about the paradox of the "healthy lifestyle" but mostly i hope that people would be ready to hear those experts and try to understand them instead of commenting or criticizing them.Again thx for your help

p.s have u seen the news about the hidden vitamin nicotinamide riboside?what do you think?

Alexander said...

One thing to do now, pop the winebottle :D

Anonymous said...

The next question that's been disturbing me ever since starting on leangains:

Why I feel hungry as fuck on mornings after high-carb training day

And feel zero hunger on the mornings after a low carb deficit rest day

Logically, I think the opposite case would be more appropriate.

Enlighten us :D

Awesome article BTW! always hated breakfasts, and now have a solid reason to hate them even more, sweet.

Ollie C said...

Enjoyed the article and makes much sense.

Question: Would a similar response be seen with fasted training? I only wonder as the workout would induce an increase in cortisol, then a meal directly after would spike insulin?

Felix said...

Glad to see you're back and with a great informative and well-written article to boot.

Marimam said...

Another great post, thanks a lot! It is great to have you back! :-)

Marimam said...

Great post, loved reading it, thanks a lot!! Its great to have you back! :-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back ! Realy happy reading this fantastic article after your break . I hope your doing well . Lg has changed my life.

Intermittent Fasting Diet said...

Great article as expected. You´re work is an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Awesome and in tune with what I was finding out these days.

Hope the duties that kept you out of work are better now...

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the same effect apply to post workout meals? Cortisol level would be high from the stress of the workout. Should we avoid post workout meals?

Mark Reyes said...

Thanks for coming back Martin. I suffered a major downhill in my life during the early time of this year and gained a majority of my hard worked weight losses back. I was growing insanely depressed because of it. I came so close to calling it quits, until I came across your website. To keep it short, you're a life saver, man. My life has improved tenfold because of you. I wish I could thank you personally. Please continue your work.

Feels like someone placed freshly cut onions on my keyboard.

A thousand thanks.

Tony said...

Martin, glad you are back! You have influenced my daily routines very much(eating and training). Live long and prosper!

Anonymous said...

Re: The Kellogg's Company.

The Road to Wellville stars Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Kellogg and sprinkles satire on corn flake.

Panned by the critics, but what do they know?



Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I´m looking forward to more great articles! :)

Matt said...

Being hypoglycemic, starting Leangains made me nervous of going that span of time without eating - going against the recommendations of everyone out there (don't go more than a few hours without eating, make sure plenty of slow suggesting carbs with protein and fats).
Yet the rollercoaster always started after breakfast for me anyhow. I'd eat (didn't matter what), get that huge insulin spike, get sluggish and tired, eat more to combat that insulin, which in turn resulted in another release.......
This went on all day.
After starting IF, I now experience no hypo symptoms, even between my three meals. No more getting sleepy after eating.
I believe this article sums up perfectly what is occurring in most of us - times ten for someone like myself.

Dan said...

Glad to see you back, Martin!

Hope all of your offline issues are resolved or at least on track to be resolved in the future.

Appreciate everything you do: your information has changed my life.

This is my first post on your blog, so I wanted just to add a sincere thank you for your relentless research and details of our bodies.

Thank you.

Greg Davis said...

If your CAR is coming too early in the morning (i.e. waking earlier than you would like) is skipping breakfast workable for a lean individual?

Feedback on strategies for pushing the CAR forward would be appreciated.

The most interesting man in boise said...

Thank you for redirecting my life from the Chive back to things that actually benefit my life.

Dean V said...

"(And you’d still be eating breakfast if I didn’t put my ass on the line to set you straight 5-6 years ago, or whenever you first read my stuff. Am I right or am I right?) "

You are Right.
Don't know where I'd be without you Berks!
Thanks buddy! Missed ya!

Romanian Barbarian said...

Good to have you back Martin, I was missing your posts.

Sajo said...

"(And you’d still be eating breakfast if I didn’t put my ass on the line to set you straight 5-6 years ago, or whenever you first read my stuff. Am I right or am I right?)", well, you got me here

Anonymous said...

Another awesome post! Thanks for all the info on your site it has really helped me to achieve a lot of personal goals

Rick Leigh said...

Pleased to have you back Martin, been lacking someone to help me wade through all the fitness BS!

mullapac said...

Welcome back! Another great article.
Good to hear from you again

Sheena said...

Great to see you back. I had a question about adrenal fatigue and IF. I work with a lot of clients who suffer from lower cortisol rhythms (especially waking--often in below 10 n/mol). What is your view on IF when dealing with adrenal fatigue? Does it help or hinder? Thanks!

ian lipman said...

Brilliant. Honestly, brilliant. Keep writing, PLEASE!

StrenuousMan said...


Fantastic post. I haven't eaten breakfast so long that I can't remember this sort of hunger. Great overview of the CAR.

Question: I'm following your early morning protocol and I take three doses of BCAAs between training (7:00AM) and lunch (1:00PM). I am definitely more hungry on training days than rest days after training, and maybe this is the cause? I wonder if others do. If amino acids are highly insulinogenic, and I'm (a fit Joe) taking these on top of the CAR and heavy weight training, could these be causing cravings as described in your post?


Anonymous said...

That first picture was....

... disturbing said...

Awesome article and welcome back dude!

Anonymous said...


This just cleared up everything breakfast related to me. The way you explain things is EXACTLY the way my mind works.

Thank You for all you do.

PS: You never mentioned that Happy Endings got priority!

Keegan Wright said...

I really enjoyed the article. This is my first month of IF and am loving it. Thanks for all the info you have given on your blog. It's been a great resource, and I look forward to reading more in the future. Welcome back.

Blake said...

Hey Martin. Truly a great site. I have read all of your stuff and been spreading the good word. Just when I thought I was never going to get down to sub 5% bf (i had been getting down to around there and then bouncing back up to 8%) Your advise has allowed me to stay at 5% with ease. It has allowed so much more flexibility with life style choices. Obviously a ton of people agree with me that you were one of the few who really spearheaded the idea of IF and building muscle at the same time. Something i would have argued could never have taken place b4 reading your stuff. Long time follower and just thought i would give you a shoutout where a shoutout was due.

Matt said...

Hi Martin,

Extremely interesting article. My wife suffers from hypoglycemia and fits the category of lean (5'11" 109 pounds). She also has massive trouble waking up for as long as I have known her.

Most of her problems center around breakfast. After eating her blood sugar drops and pretty much screws up the rest of her day. It sometimes gets as low as 60 at which point she can get really angry and aggressive. Not fun.

Her doctors have her measuring her glucose constantly and making sure to eat lots of meals (pushing protein in particular). She eats extremely well but keeps having these low blood sugar bouts after breakfast.

She will wake up with blood sugar around 90. She will eat and it will go to like 130. Twenty minutes later it will plummet to around 60 and she will feel like she is going to die. One thing I have noticed is that the swings are much worse if she eats protein (which is exactly what her doctors keep telling her to eat). She will eat more and after a few hours of whip sawing it will level out and she can start her day.

Do you think your cortisol explanation could be at work here?

If she already has high cortisol levels upon waking and then immediately eats a protein filled breakfast is it possible that breakfast is causing even higher cortisol levels (hence lower blood sugar) rather than helping prevent it? Wouldn't be the first time doctors told someone to do something idiotic.

FYI - I have none of these problems. I follow your early morning fasted workout protocol for a slow bulk and don't eat real food until noon. I measured my blood sugar (using her test equipment) at 100 after a full 16 hour fast.

Trying to get someone to try IF as a antidote for hypoglycemia has been a tough sell. I have a feeling it may be the answer but when you have a hammer everything starts to look like a nail.


Anonymous said...

Berkhan's back!!!!

G said...

Welcome back. I started Leangains about two months ago, and the results have been amazing. I'll send you an update in a month or so.

That's interesting about the Kellogg Corporation changing the *timing* of breakfast. Do you have any more info on that? I've love to know what traditional breakfast habits were.

Casi Halfmann said...

Man I love this guy.

Michele Lauren said...

So happy you're back and with a post full of fantastic info! Thank you so much, Martin, for all you have done, and are doing. You're willingness to share has changed my life forever!! The women in the FFF group on FaceBook are truly rocking Fierce Fit and Fearless and it is in large part because of YOU! Mahalo!

Greg McNally said...

The king is dead, long live the king lol. Great article. Good to see you on the move again..

Joy Victoria said...

Been linking people to your blog since I found it. Thanks so much for all your valuable knowledge and research into these topics and the patience to explain it to those of us not on your level. Priceless!

chromosome said...

Thanks for the great post. reading this makes me wonder why I always hungry at the end of an evening of some serious drinking. After a load of alcohol, I can finish off all the peanuts on the bar and I feel like eating all the girls in the bar too. Explain that to me.

Emy Barkhimer said...

Awesome, as always, Martin. I've missed reading your updates. This one was well worth the wait.

Keep 'em coming.
Emy B.

Jeff Rothschild said...

I've been a longtime reader and really appreciate your posts. I'm gonna marinate on this one and I may have more comments… But my initial curiosity is this,

Do you know of any research showing the amount of insulin secreted to change throughout the day in response to the same meal?

The reason I ask is that it seems that if cortisol worked synergistically with insulin then we should see lower insulin secretions in the morning.


Natacha said...

Martin, I have a question concerning cardio. I understand too much cardio can cause muscle loss while doing leangains but what if I really love doing it? I do some Zumba once a week (not to burn calories, but because I really have a lot of fun doing it) and 1 hour on a treadmill on the weekend. That gives me only 1 off day per week. My question is: should I avoid cardio to preserve muscle? Should I eat more to compensate the calorie deficit? Should I do cardio but not on an empty stomach?

Christian Rupp said...

Dear Martin, i thought the dark side of the force would win but then i saw the IF Jedi Master himself got back to bring home the victory over the dark side.
To be honest you just made my Day and i am so happy we got u back.
Really appreciated your kind words at the end of ur article.
Keep goin'!
It's like Rocky said "world ain't all Sunshine and Rainbow

Anonymous said...

Bang on. In the diabetes world, we call this the Dawn Phenomenon or DP.

This is exactly what I concluded myself after testing my own insulin responses. I'm on an insulin pump. If I eat breakfast, any breakfast, I need to reduce my basals so I don't hypo before lunch. I now only drink fats in my coffee in the mornings.

Here's my basal patterns for a visual reference. My cortisol response is very strong.

Anonymous said...

Hey martin, I think you are mixing together adrenocortitrphic hormones[ACTH] with cortisol.
ie cortisol isn't responsible for most of these, Adrenaline/ epinephrine is AFAIK:

"Thanks to increasing cortisol levels during training, we can push way past our non-stressed comfort level, and maintain an adequate rate of exertion for a longer period of time than what would have been possible otherwise, without being overtly distracted by pain, hunger and fatigue. Cortisol improves muscle and glucose metabolism, increases pain tolerance, diminishes fatigue and strengthens motivation.

Due to cortisol in response to a cognitive challenge, we can recall important facts faster and in greater detail than otherwise, maintain focus, stay alert and pull all-nighters in front of the computer if needed. Cortisol increases sensory perception, memory recall, and wakefulness."

Christian Rupp said...

Hey Martin. I thought the dark side had take over control over the interwebz. But thank god the IF Jedi Master himself got back to bring home the victory.
To be honest I am glad we got you back.
Really appreciated your comment in the last section of the post and looking forward to hearing from you again
Keep going!
It's like Rocky said "The World ain't all sunshine and rainbows"

Anonymous said...

What happens if you end up getting up later and the start of the 8 hour eating period becomes breakfast?

Steve said...

If exercise increases cortisol, should there be any concern in eating/having a protein shake right after a workout? Would it be better to have a waiting period (I.e. 60 mins)?

Craig said...

Would it defeat the whole purpose if i were to consume a nootropic beverage that contains around 60 calories and 10gs of sugar during the fasted state? And would it be better to move this drink As close to the feeding window as possible?

Anonymous said...


Antti said...

This is full of win

Anonymous said...

What are your views on lyles response? lolol

Anonymous said...

big fan of your stuff, not sure i agree entirely but good read nevertheless.

lyle is a faggot.

Zach Ballard said...

Glad you are back, bro.

Michael Kelly said...

My 12 year old son was diagnosed as a type one diabetic 7 months ago. He was headed down the path of getting heavy like everyone on my side of the family until the symptoms of unexplained weight loss and lethargy kicked in.
After things settled and we got used to our "new normal," I'm noticing his "set point" is leaner than before. He is excelling at sports too. Unlike the rest of that side of the family that became obese around his age.
At first I figured it was because he was forced into portion control with his carbs. And the thought of adding insulin via his pump was too much of a bother to eat more. But that did'nt hold up as I know my side of the family will ravenously pound simple carbs all day long.
This article has made me pause and figure that the reason he is getting leaner (even though he has to eat breakfast, unlike non-diabetics) is because at breakfast time his body cannot produce the extra insulin given at the "CAR" and his hunger levels will then remain more stable since his body will only utilize the insulin he programs his pump to administer.
After a 2 month absence, Martin hits a grand slam article!

Anonymous said...

finally another article! soooo good to see another one. i dont know if youve ever seen hodgetwins on youtube but they started using leangains not too long ago. there some funny guys check em out if you can sometime

Jared Novio said...

Martin you said we evolved an efficient system for preventing blood sugar from dropping too low but still if I eat certain foods or eat in the morning I get low blood sugar.

I was tested witha glycemic curve in the hospital and also tested myself at home with a glucometer many times. If I eat certain foods or eat upon awakening, I first get a strong increase in blood sugar and then a fast drop, till 35-40 mg/dL. Then I feel impaired: confusion, headache, spaciness...

And yet according to doctors I'm perfectly healthy, my pancreas is healthy, my hormones are healthy, my regulatory system is healthy, there's no sign of diabetes risk and no diabetes history in my family. I have never been overweight and I'm pretty athletic with 11% bodyfat.

40 mg/dL

Danielv said...

Welcome back Martin, eagerly awaiting your next post already. Do you actually receive sexually explict offers from randoms on fb? Sorta cool, yet creepy at the same time.

gavingc said...

Thank you Mark. I have struggled to understand my body's response to this all my life.

I actually go well beyond the hungry state to confused, shaking and feeling awful.

But it's never been predictable. Every time I go for a fasted blood glucose test the result is "mildly low" (ie it takes longer than 45min to get to the Dr and take the test).

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. I am not a big fan of cereal. Leangains proctol has helped me reduce joint inflammation, I have real painful gout. While eat stop eat helped me lose weight I can reduce pain better with your protocol so I am going to stick with it.

I can never thank you enough. I tell a lot of people have IF but a lot of people think you will get sick or end up with serious health condition.

Anonymous said...

Would it defeat the purpose if i consumed a nootropic beverage that contains around 40 cals and 10 gs of sugar during my fasted period? I wake up 5:30am and end my fast at 1pm and i usually drink this around 10 or 11am

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,
I have had really amazing results with your IF protocol, so thank you so much!
I'm recently pregnant, and I discontinued IF once I found out. I'm wondering if IF still fits. It doesn't seem to be the "right" way to approach pregnancy/nutrition, but then again, a lot of people disagree with you anyway!
Curious about your thoughts on IF when pregnant.


Haley said...

Welcome back! I hope things are back on track for you!

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual! I'm insulin resistant and have been taking Metformin for a little while... I've lost 14kg so far and have some 30kg to go. I've been using IF for the past few months and it seems to have improved my blood sugar control and my overall body composition.

Would you care to posit how IF is helping someone like me, when all the literature warns of hypoglycaemia?

Thanks again,
Paul, Western Australia

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin!
Thanks for posting again, I've read almost everything on your site, love it all. Any chance you would write a post detailing how you adapt the program for women? I would love to get started but would love to read something specifically for women that includes some kind of calorie range as well. Thanks!

Josh said...

It's about time you got back here. Why the hell you would let some naysayers (I'm assuming this is what happened) try to take you down is beyond me. Your approach has had me beach ready- not only for two summers in a row for the first time since I was 21- on a daily basis. Before Lean Gains, NOTHING EVER WORKED AND IT PISSED ME OFF TO BE TOLD IT WAS MY FAULT, that I was doing something wrong.

Here's to all kinds of six packs, huge dinners, huge lifts, and the return of Martin!


Richard said...

Welcome back Martin, looking forward to future articles

PumpedUp Med said...

Great article mate.

Reading the actual science and logic in fitness/health/training articles is what really makes me love the leangains approach.

Looking forward to having you back.

Keep on lifting.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great article, Martin. Like someone already mentioned, the longer and more in depth scientifically, the better.

Also, like a few people have already asked, how does the CAR effect affect people who train early in the mornings on an empty stomach? Does this cause their cortisol levels to skyrocket and therefore bring about the "bad" cortisol? ie. Is early morning training, subsequently, a detrimental choice?

Thank you!

Mikey said...

Welcome back! Always a pleasure to learn something new from your articles. Look forward to many more.

Anonymous said...

Adding onto this, I'd be interested to hear in people's thoughts on the implication of this information regarding consuming AAs around workout for those of us that train first thing fasted. Does the recommendation to consume AAs every couple of hours until 'breakfast' also then have hunger suppression effects by preventing a blood glucose crash as well as erring on the safe side re catabolism.

Personally I found sipping on AAs highly effective in suppressing hunger post workout, when first starting IF.

Dani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dani said...

This post put´s a lot of emphasis on carbs. But wouldn´t eating some butter/oil/fat in the morning keep the fat burning going while maintaining an adequate fast?

Anonymous said...

Keep hating the Internet. It shows you have some sense. :)

Love the site, I have gotten so much good info here. You are top-shelf quality.

AprilJ said...

So, all this being said, are you still recommending us to take BCAA's during and after fasted training if we train first thing in the morning? Seems like the CAR plus the cortisol spike from protein plus the spike from training is huge. Please elaborate- and glad you are back!!

TheS0urce said...

Welcome back. I hope everything is ok. I think it's a good thing to take time from the internet anyways.

Big fan said...

Great to see you're back :) You have truly inspired greatness in me and many more.

Anonymous said...

what about coffee - i.e. what if your breakfast (a "meal" upon rising) is just a cup of black coffee (no sugar, milk, no nothing... just coffee)?

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know Martin that I've recently had fun with a bit different approach: breakfast as my only meal. Of course on workout days I still go to the gym before eating, but I go very early. On workout days I'm sone with eating at around 12-13, on rest days around 11-12. Something I've noticed is that if I eat late in the day it will take me ages to wake up properly in the morning but if I wake up a bit hungry I'm ready to go the moment I get my feet off the bed.

Samuel Dybdahl said...

Awesome post; the anticipation of a published book is overwhelming

Anonymous said...

Magnificent as always. Is there any link to the full version of the article?

titus billingsley said...

great more to read and learn been missing you dude

titus billingsley said...

So glad to see you back needed more to read and learn

Cone911 said...

This is my first comment ever Brad!
I was going trough some of your old tweets when the "Brace yourselves" came. That tweet made my day and your blog has changed my life.
I can not thank you enough for setting me free of the six meals a day bullshit!
Come back soon!

Alexander said...

So would a strict low carb / high fat breakfast prevent the insulin response?

Kenan said...

This site was a revelation for me, I've always been a ''big meal'' kinda guy. So when I started doing lifting, all I saw on web was like, do the 6 meals, do it every 3-4 hours, I mean WTF? To spend whole day thinking about food, not for me so I said ain't gonna do that and I was basically fasting 14/10 without even knowing what was I doing and got great gains. I am now at 16/8 regime, and lovin it.

Keep up the good work Martin!

Just Another Rep said...

Excellent article Martin,

Make sure you get those references up, I'm looking forward to having a read!

Anonymous said...

Great news for us who don't have any apetite in the morning... (i.e. even less "guilt" for skipping it).

I have wondered some time if a fasted, brisk walk that expends say 4 hours' worth of BMR (about 400 kcal) could be equal to fasting the same time.

Simply put, could:

1) a 10 hr fast + a 400 kcal walk

be similar in effect to

2) a 14 hr fast resting.

Am I totally in the wrong here?

Elsbeth Vaino said...

Interesting post, and well timed for me: I was just talking about IF as a potential option with a client this morning. In fact I've avoided it personally because I feel hungry so often in the morning, but have suggested it to many clients who don't really care for breakfast anyhow but eat it anyway. I've also been intrigued by the implications of cortisol on weight for some time, so this was a VERY cool post for me. Thanks!

Toria said...

Great article Thank you! I have something to show people when they complain to me about not eating till afternoon.

DM said...

Just discovered your excellent blog sir! So much info to get thru tho so do u have a book or specific post on your exact diet, literally meal by meal, and training routine? I am currently researching foods and am reading that grains are no good, interested if you leave those out, among other things, if your diet is paleo and so forth? thanks

Josh@au said...

Happy your back Martin - hope your well

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you. 10 years of doctors making me wait an hour to see them for 5 mins never explained anything like this. Curious - when should someone who is insulin resistant have their first meal of the day? How many hours after waking up? Thanks!!

gejwhite said...

Excellent article as always. Helps further my understanding of my type 1 diabetic pain in the arse morning blood sugar rise.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

It's great to have more info from you again. I have a question for you (or anyone that has been doing the fasted training), in the guide, the guideline for the post workout meal is 95% to 99% of the day's total caloric intake. For an 8 hour feeding window, that remaining 1% to 5% doesn't leave much for the rest of the day...or is that the purpose?

Especially since the LeanGains sample setup was shown as...

"Sample setup

11.30-12 AM or 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: Training
1 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal of the day).
4 PM: Second meal.
9 PM: Last meal before the fast."

...which would make meals 2 and 3 extrememly small...almost non-existant.

Just wanted to clarify. Thanks.

The Real Will

Nonsensicle Gibberish said...

Doing great stuff, Martin. Thanks for the article and dumbing it down for folks like me.

On a second note, you are not only looking lean, but mean! You, sir, are getting to be a monster. Also, congrats on your new Deadlift PR. 600lbs is beyond respectible!

Anonymous said...

I have done intermittent fasting in the past and found it to be very good, my main issue with this is the blood work after 6 months. I have seen theses results in a few other people has well. I also develop anemia. Testosterone and thyroid hormone went down, RBC, WBC and palatele went down too. I did lose a lot of weight and felt less hungry, sugar craving gone and all. Are there any ways around theses awful blood work?

Unknown said...

Hey Martin, thats an awesome article that I think cuts really deep into the issue. I've read about the Ghrelin bounce from high carb breakfast but Cambell's hypothesis goes in some way to explain why ghrelin kicks in.
I also didn't appreciate the insulin kick in lean (insulin sensitive) individuals. I think a lot of broscience is based on the "it works for me so you should do the same" rationale which ignores the congenital differences between lean and obese. I guess this is part of the reason why lean bro's can eat the way they do. Anyway thanks.

Me on a Fast said...

I would very much like to know about blood work, i did IF 15hours fasted ate red meat, whole eggs, and more after i had blood test done, my values for testosterone, thyroid, red blood cell and white blood cell crashed, and at some point i was anemic. Is there a way around this because i have also read a few studies about guys that did IF and got the same out of it. I love IF its makes it easier to lose weight, get ride of sugar cravings, eat a lot less.

Andrea said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and am very curious about the other "many related and interesting semi-related parts to the topic of this article that I had skimp on, or cut out." What are the odds that you kept a copy of the previous (un-trimmed-down) version of this post and wouldn't mind sharing it?

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

First off I'm a big fan, and I thought this was a cool article trying to explain the hunger using meta-analysis of different publications. I would love to see someone test this out in a lab.

That being said, I have some issues with the accuracy of the intro on cortisol. First off, your definition of a stressor seems to be the general physiological definition of something that causes and error-signal and subsequent activation of a homeostatic control mechanism. This is quite different than stress in the sense that cortisol is concerned with. Cortisol is secreted in response to long-term stress. Your mention of cortisol being released in response to squats or other short term stressors is to my knowledge, incorrect. Something like squats would trigger the body's short-term stress response which is primarily an Epi/NorEpi surge.

Maybe I just misunderstood what you were trying to say, but regardless, hope this helps as you work on editing and perfecting the article.


convoymagnus said...

Martin, I have been quietly for sometime following you, and I would like to say THANK YOU for all the knowledge you share with us.

Diane Lopez said...

Cool stuffs! Your post is lengthy..haha..but it's bearable..nice thoughts! :)

Anonymous said...

Good article Martin. For me skipping breakfast or not isn't a problem. Until I've trained principally for rapid fat loss it was perfect, but now that I've increased calories for body recomposition for me it's difficult to eat too much food at lunch and dinner (for my job I cannot do more than two meals and the lunch isn't more than 4-500 kcal). So the day after training I eat a breakfast. It worked always fine for me without leave me hungry in the middle of the morning. My workout is in the evening from 5.30pm to 19.30pm, so I think it's more appropriate to eat more calories during the day after, when protein synthesis is higher because of the weight training. I would appreciate your comment to this last point. Thanks... ;-)

Anonymous said...

And what about the postprandial somnolence? I've read that cortisol level remains high until the afternoon. Can be the culprit also in this case? Whatever I eat I haven't any problem after breakfast and dinner, but lunch is very critical. Normally at lunch I eat meat with veggies, but in the afternoon I go lethargic if I don't eat also 70-90 gr of rice or pasta . It seems as the insuline response to the meal causes the fall of blood glucose, and a source of carbs which can raise slowly (due to the "brake" of proteins and veggies) the glucose level in the blood contributes to maintain it high enough to non cause somnolence. What do you think about it?

Dani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yay, welcome back. Very interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

And what about the role of breakfast to lower cortisol? Perhaps thanks to the choice of the right food the cortisol can be lowered minimizing the insulin peak. For example it seems that cereals at breakfast (i suppose better if rich of fibers) helps to lower cortisol during the entire day. See the following link:

DCHTLH said...

Great you still have Leangains T-shirts available for sale? I would love to buy a few...thanks

Anonymous said...

I would like to buy a Leangains T-Shirt. I live in a hokey suburb of a big city and there is no way anyone there is going to give up their "brea brea"s and their big bellies. (Arms are big haha).

Man, I get worn out by all the comments that ask questions and quote personal stats that seem impossible to understand without breaking the person's personal code. If you are measuring your progress, and correctly do your exercises, then you should see your results. Why ask?

Anonymous said...

It makes me proud that Martin is a fellow citizen. I know it is ridiculous, but it does. This time it is the other way around. Scientists are inspired by a highly astute and creative scapegrace. I can´t believe the results I´ve seen after 33 days with Martins diet methods. Two sizes down in jeans 32"--> 30" and it´s not stopping. 29" at 6ft1 is thin. So when I reach below 8% bf I´ll have to study Martins methods of building muscles, because what I´m doing now clearly can be improved upon. The crisp crystal clear feeling in my head is also a big plus + all this extra energy. Thanks Martin. Please write a book and make an immense amount of cash. Because you are worth it.

Austin said...

Great post! So glad to see you back, it's been a while

Anonymous said...

Another stupid study. "Binge drinking increases risk of cognitive decline"

Anonymous said...

I agree. Have heard so many people reference this site. Came excited for some good IF information and had to see that nasty image. Not what I came here looking for. Thankfully I was abke to cover the screen before my little girl saw it.

Anonymous said...

Intermittant fasting makes other people fat because when they see you eating later in the day when they have had dinner and desert they get the munchies and start eating even more lolololololol. Been doing it a year and love it.

Zino said...

Definitely want more posts like that. Seems legit. Thanks for the effort!

grizzancs said...

@The real will: the whole day is after workout. The 1-5% is for before workout. Pwo you could go 40-30-30 or something like that, not 95% in one meal (though you could do that if that's what you want)

Brett said...

Ok, I have a question about cortisol and fasting. so even with fasting an additional 8 hrs after waking, cortisol levels will fall from the peak from CAR?

additional question is there any CAR upon waking from a nap? I would imagine there is but maybe not as pronounced?

Swedish Volume Protocol said...

Nice bedtime reading!
Enjoy your site a lot :-)
Keep up the good work Martin!

/Lasse Thörnholm Sweden

Dani said...

When are you going to bring up the role of insulin, carbs and epinephrine. I have been trying to tweak my adrenals for sports quite some time now. Any advice on that?

Dani said...

When are you going to bring up the role of insulin, carbs and epinephrine. I have been trying to tweak my adrenals for sports quite some time now. Any advice on that?

Anonymous said...

bender said...

Fascinating stuff as usual. Minor typo where you say "P.S.S." at the end, it should be "P.P.S." Hope to see more stuff soon (even if we have to pay it, cough cough book cough cough) but even if not, the stuff here is the best on the web.

Anton Cleaver-Wilkinson said...

I'm a dancer that trains up to 12 hours a day, and sometimes only has one break throughout that. I feel that I NEED breakfast before I start or else I'll lack the energy to continue?

Is this true or is it possible to combine the leangains system with my training regime?


Anonymous said...

hey they just done a doc BBC Horizon on fasting

Anonymous said...

A couple weeks ago, I decided to begin IF after doing enough research to determine whether or not I was capable. After doing a crash medifast diet and losing 120 in a matter of 10 months I finally came to terms with lifting and building lean muscle; that was 18 months ago and the amount of time, injury and effort put in did not reap the rewards that were warranted. Despite my marginal gains, I swore to stick to the "kill all carbs on sight" dogma while doing my 4 days of cardio with 30 minutes or more on abs....what a fucking waste of time.

In the short timespan between starting IF and the 4 primary lifting workouts, I've seen surreal gains that blew me off of my rocker. You've not only put health in a different perspective for me, but the right one.

I don't know you and likely never will but I have to thank you for what you're doing. Advise like this is hard to pay for let alone find for free. I should also mention that the psychological/physiological aspect of this works wonders since it doesn't involve pettifogging over every aspect of your actions.

P.S. Please keep updating us, I'm tired of rereading the same articles as a means of inoculating myself from the bullshit people perpetuate on a regular basis.


Dani said...

I have a question. Will this diet make me fatter than I would usually be when I go off it? I just wan´t to slim down but I don´t want to start gaining weight more than I should when I start eating some foods again.

Jeppi said...

hmm.. according to this then. I think you can draw the conclusion that a morning feeding window isn't recommended?

Patrik said...

Hur skulle IF funkar för en typ 1 diabetiker (moi!)? Med tanke på att blodsockervärdet stiger i respons(?) till uppvaknandet så känner jag att jag [b]måste[/b] äta frukost, eller åtminstone kompensera efter ett par timmar med X mängd insulin. Har dock aldrig gillat att äta frukost, och fick diabetes jävligt sent (var 20 då, 25 nu).

Så är det gångbart med IF för mig, och hur skulle det funka med dygnets första timmar?

Legendis said...

so after reading this and the whole page, i decided to gibt IF a try..

my normal routine (which build me a nice belly) would look like these:
eating the last snack at 10pm, breakfast at 9am. so its 11hours of fasting.
after skippng breakfast now reagarding to the 16/8 hours circle, i add an extra of 5hours of fasting to my daily routine.

will this really have a big impact??

Legendis said...

will an additional 5hours of fasting (by skipping breakfast) really have an significant impact to my lean mass, if i consume the same calories as before?

Mike said...

HI Martin,
I'm a newbie who wants to get stronger.
I've been fucking around with lots of different workouts and whatnot at the gym, and I was wondering if you could make a basic workout regime for me?

David Stephan said...

Som vanligt; guld.

David Stephan said...

As usual; gold.

David Stephan said...

Som vanligt; guld.

Anonymous said...

Why are you people asking questions and expecting an answer?

Ryan Ford said...

Just a few questions for you to think about Martin.

1. In individuals who have run a few ketogenic cycles, and adapt quickly to low carb environments, is it possible for this type of individual to be in Ketosis, or at least be deriving significant amount of ketones, on wake-up (assuming no carbs have been ingested for a minimum of 12 hours at this point).

Subjectively I have required noticeably less sleep on a LG style diet (at least a one hour reduction as opposed to longer, standard eating windows( where 16+ hours a day carbs are ingested), where I would wake up before breakfast with greater mental awareness, and tonnes more energy.

Could it be that many people feel unbelievable sluggishness on wake-up because they are in the 'process' of switching over to using ketone fuel? I would imagine this is a gradual transition gradient rather than a simple on/off adaption.

2. Why do you think a lot of people just cannot handle breakfast in the morning? I notice that if I have woken up naturally and have had deep sleep, consuming breakfast is natural. If I have not, my body rejects it. Does poor sleep blunt insulin sensitivity and hunger levels?

3. Thirdly, consider an alternating day carb cycle of 300g/10g. From my understanding as weightlifters we are in danger of amino acid breakdown under intense exercise, in the absence of carbs. Deriving ketones will minimize amino acid breakdown, except during intense exercise where energy can only be provided by glycogen or amino acids.

My question is this, will the previous day carb ingestion of 300g provide sufficient glycogen storage to act as a defensive buffer against amino acid leeching, which may occur on the following day, where we only consume 10g of carbs?

We obviously hope that is the case, or running at 300g/10g alternating carb cycle might be one of the most destructive things we could do - if glycogen is already depleted, and ketosis has not been established.

Your thoughts please. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to come across this site...when is your book coming out or did it already?

NoxArt said...

Interesting ... I have exactly the opposite experience - breakfast makes me NOT hungry, and not temporarily, but for many hours and gives me a lot of energy. So for me larger breakfasts were a positive breakthrough, and 'm not gaining fat due to them despite. Though I might try this approach as well.

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My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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