Radically Resilient Health Podcast
“Queen Bees who Breakfast” is the new “Ladies who Lunch.”
Written By Leah GiaQuinta, PT and Dr Carolyn Dolan, DPT, MSHN
In 1970, the Tony Award-Winning Musical Company hit Broadway, and Elaine Stitch introduced us to the song “The Ladies Who Lunch,” written and composed by Stephen Sondheim. Her character, Joanne, expresses his lyrics that mock women who waste their middle-aged lives without a sense of purpose beyond… lunch. Recently, Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald and Christine Baranski sang the song over a three-way Zoom video conferencing call during the COVID-19 quarantine to commemorate Sondheim’s 90th birthday. The link to this performance is included here for your enhanced entertainment.
Analyzing the correlation between eating lunch and living a meaningful life is likely best-suited for a different kind of self-help tutorial. But for our purposes, the important discussion regarding women and nutrition is worth highlighting; specifically, considerations in when women eat, and how that impacts overall health and wellness.
Several randomized controlled studies released over the past several years have indicated that breakfast produces benefits. Three studies specifically looked at the effects that breakfast consumption made on individuals with metabolic disorders. One study compared healthy and diabetic individuals, utilizing a method that observed clock and gene expression in trials where breakfast was included vs. omitted. Our bodies’ circadian clock functions to regulate glucose metabolism; therefore, the timing and scheduling of food consumption is related to how our circadian clock functions. This method specifically compared first-meal consumption at breakfast vs. lunch. The results of this study found that skipping breakfast altered the metrics of circadian clock and metabolic gene expression in both groups. These metrics are in turn correlated with increased glycemic response, or the effect that food or meal has on blood sugar (glucose) levels after consumption.
Another study aimed to evaluate the effect of breakfast size and composition on body weight, glycemic control, and metabolic markers in diabetic adults. The study divided participants into two groups that either consumed a big breakfast and a smaller breakfast. The research designed the big breakfast to be rich in fat and protein and provided 33% of total daily energy. The small breakfast was rich in carbohydrates and provided 12.5% of total daily energy. The study found that the big breakfast group showed greater reductions in blood pressure, decreased diabetic medication dosages, lower hunger scores, and greater improvements with fasting glucose.
In a study specifically designed to observe women, researchers compared a weight loss diet with high caloric intake during breakfast to an isocaloric diet with high caloric intake at dinner. The results showed that the breakfast group showed greater weight loss and a greater reduction in fasting glucose and insulin. The participants in the breakfast group also stayed satiated longer. So regardless of the types of foods consumed, the bigger the breakfast, the better. How does breakfast fit in with your daily routine? An individualized approach to a health-promoting lifestyle is always optimal, but it may be your best bet to start with eating a high-protein, high-fat meal for breakfast to improve your metabolism, especially if you are a female with obesity or metabolic syndrome. If you aren’t hungry when you wake at 5 am, eat when you have the chance. Also, we always recommend that high calories come from whole sources of protein, vegetables and fruit. This likely compounds the effect of eating breakfast to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Webster defines a ‘queen bee’ as a woman who dominates or leads a group (as in a social activity). So if you are able, make the shift into your inner ‘Queen Bee who breakfasts,’ and send up a toast to yourself to “rise!” as suggested in the Sondheim song lyrics. We recommend our favorite breakfast toasting beverage: a nutrient-dense mimosa combining equal parts fresh squeezed orange juice with pulp, mineral water and Ginger Kombucha garnished with a strawberry. And toss it back with an added kick of Vitakinetics, of course!
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