In a recent interview on the BBC podcast ‘Just One Thing,’ Professor Tim Spector shared his personal experience of unknowingly gaining 10 kilograms over a decade due to his breakfast choices.
As a co-founder of the ZOE study and a nutrition expert, Professor Spector decided to change his morning routine after noticing a spike in his blood sugar levels immediately after eating what he thought was a “healthy diet.”
Surprisingly, his breakfast of toast and marmalade, along with a cup of tea and a glass of orange juice, turned out to be the cause of his weight gain. This led him to encourage people to experiment with their breakfast options to find what works best for them.
Reflecting on his previous breakfast habits, Professor Spector revealed, “When I was a healthy doctor epidemiologist, it [breakfast] would be mostly a cup of tea with low fat milk in it. And a nice glass of orange juice, and toast and marmalade. It would be brown toast – I didn’t know at that time that they’re often dyed brown.”
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Unbeknownst to him, this supposedly healthy diet had caused him to gain a kilo in weight over the course of a decade, resulting in a total weight gain of 10 kilos. It wasn’t until he monitored his blood sugar levels while eating breakfast that he realised the truth.
“It shot up into the normal diabetic range,” he admitted. “There was a worrying sign that these carbs and sugars weren’t right for me.”
Interestingly, Professor Spector found that his wife’s blood sugar levels reacted differently to the same breakfast. This led him to emphasise the importance of individual experimentation when it comes to breakfast choices.
He now opts for a high-fat breakfast consisting of full-fat yogurt with nuts, seeds, and berries. Additionally, he replaced his tea with coffee, as recent research suggests that coffee is beneficial for gut microbes.
Describing the impact of his dietary changes, Professor Spector said: “This is why I say experiment your breakfast because for me, it was good to change to a high fat breakfast. So, I have full fat yoghurt with some nuts and seeds sprinkled on there and whichever berries I happen to have – either frozen or fresh depending on the season. I switched my tea to coffee, because we now know coffee is really good for your gut microbes.”
The results were remarkable. Not only did his blood sugar levels stabilise, but he also experienced reduced hunger and an overall sense of well-being.
He said: “It was a radical difference. And I instantly saw that changing brought down my sugars. I wasn’t getting sugar spikes. I also didn’t feel nearly as hungry at 11 O’clock at work. I didn’t feel I needed a mid morning biccy as I used to and I was just feeling generally better.”
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