Endocrinology (including Diabetes)/Insulin highest in the morning?


I have diabetes in my family, and I seem to have many of the symptoms of insulin resistance, thus I am watching my carb intake and eating lower glycemic.
I have a friend that says she lost weight by not eating carbs in the morning. Instead she has some fruit with low fat yogurt.
The theory is that insulin levels are highest in the morning so most of that starch gets stored as fat and also slows your metabolism.
I found this interesting. I find it hard to lose weight, even though I am a picky eater and am very active.
All my life I have had a breakfast of cereal and toast. Perhaps with my genetics, this is what was happening to me?
At the very least, yogurt and fruit sounds healthier!?
Thanks for your thoughts!

  It is well established that insulin resistance is highest in the morning (pre-breakfast) due to the effects of a hormone called cortisol.  When your body goes without food overnight, your liver still has to maintain your blood glucose levels, which it does with the help of hormones like cortisol.  Accordingly, breakfast takes the most insulin to process, especially when it's higher in carbs.  It would really depend on what type of cereal you eat, though, since ones like rolled oats (old-fashioned, not instant) have a fairly low glycemic index (GI) and may require less insulin release than most processed, white flour and sugar cereals.  Fruit actually is pretty high in carbs, but they're mostly low GI ones.  Yogurt can have a lot of carbs and sugar, too, if you don't pick the right ones.  (For more information about the GI of various foods, go to www.glycemicindex.com.)
  So, fruit and yogurt may require less insulin, if you pick fruits like berries in particular and eat a yogurt that is lower in carbs and sugar and higher in protein.  Greek yogurt is okay if plain (the flavored types have too much added sugar).  I actually eat a "CarbMaster" yogurt made by Kroger/Ralph's that is high in protein and without any added sugars.  An alternative may be a protein-based breakfast made with eggs/egg whites.  It certainly is harder--at least in my experience--to lose weight when you're eating a lot of foods that require greater amounts of insulin to process.  You may want to experiment with eating a couple different breakfasts (with a similar number of calories) and see if you notice any differences.  Protein-based breakfasts are certainly more filling and keep you from getting hungry again as quickly.  

Endocrinology (including Diabetes)

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Sheri Colberg, PhD


I am an exercise physiologist with a PhD who specializes in diabetes--as such I CANNOT answer general questions about other endocrine problems as I am neither an expert in all areas of endocrinology nor am I a medical doctor. My expertise lies in answering questions about diabetes (of any type) and physical activity, so please limit your questions to those areas. I can help you if you want to begin exercise or if you're already a diabetic athlete, and I am prepared to respond to questions about physical activity to which even your diabetologist may not know the answer. I can give suggestions about changes in your diabetic medications that differing types and intensities of exercise may necessitate, but I will have to refer you to your regular health care team to get final approval to make such changes. I can also answer questions about physical fitness, exercise metabolism, prediabetes reversal, and prevention of type 2 diabetes and diabetic complications.


I have both personal and professional experience in the areas of diabetes and exercise/physical activity. On a personal level, I have had type 1 diabetes since 1968, and I have been an avid exerciser since I was a child. Professionally, I have been conducting clinical studies on diabetes and exercise since 1992, largely with funding from the American Diabetes Association. I am also the author of 8 books related to diabetes, exercise, and more: The Diabetic Athlete (2001), Diabetes-Free Kids (2005), The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan (2006), 50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes (2007), The Science of Staying Young (2007), Matt Hoover's Guide to Life, Love, and Losing Weight (2008), Diabetic Athlete's Handbook (2009), and Diabetes? No Problema! (2009).

I am a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a professional member of the American Diabetes Association (and professional volunteer for the ADA), and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association.

I have published research and review articles in the following journals and magazines: Diabetes Care, Diabetes, Journal of Diabetes & Its Complications, Diabetes Self-Management, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Journal of Applied Physiology, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, International Journal of Obesity, FASEB Journal, The Diabetes Educator, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, Clinical Exercise Physiology, Clinical Diabetes Reviews, Insulin, ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, Biomechanics, On the Cutting Edge, Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, Microvascular Research, Drug Benefit Trends, ACSM Certified News, Diabetes Health, SportEX Health, Diabetes Focus, Diabetes In Control, dLife-For Your Diabetes Life, Pediatrics for Parents, and My TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) Newsletter. I have also been interviewed in myriad other magazines, such as Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Diabetes Forecast, Countdown Magazine, Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness, Health, Tidewater Parent, Barron's News, Diabetes New Day, and Newsweek International.

I have an undergraduate degree (1985) from Stanford University, a Master's degree in exercise physiology (1987) from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. (1992) from the University of California, Berkeley, in the same field. I also spent two years in an NIH-funded postdoctoral research position in endocrinology (studying obesity, diabetes, metabolism, and exercise) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (1993-1994).

Awards and Honors
Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) - 1996 Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Young Investigator Grant Award 2003 Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Old Dominion University Chapter 2004-Present Great Women of the 21st Century by the American Biographical Institute 2005 Edition Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Largest Research Grant Award 2006 Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Publications Award (for greatest number) 2006 Saint Louis University, The Max K. Horwitt Memorial Lecture Distinguished Lectureship Award 2008 Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Publications Award 2009 Old Dominion University Darden College of Research Grants Award 2009

Past/Present Clients
I have consulted for numerous groups, including Can-Am Care, Numera|Social, California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training(about candidates with diabetes), Animas Corporation (an insulin pump company), Therasense, Inc. (makers of the Freestyle blood glucose meters), Council of Healthcare Advisors, and the City of Chesapeake (Virginia) Health Department.

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