The Health Benefits of a High Carb Breakfast

A high carb breakfast is one of the most debated meals in recent years. So it's always a good time to think about the nutrients we eat first thing in the morning.
The Health Benefits of a High Carb Breakfast
Anna Vilarrasa

Written and verified by the nutritionist Anna Vilarrasa.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Regardless of whether we’re talking about a high carb breakfast or not, scientific evidence links the habit of eating a wholesome breakfast with a higher level of micronutrients throughout the day. In fact, it’s also associated with meeting the nutritional needs of each person, and providing them with higher energy levels.

This is true even in the case of children and adolescents. The first meal of the day is linked to benefits at a cognitive level. However, the evidence on the importance of breakfast is still insufficient and researchers are still investigating the subject.

Today we’d like to take the opportunity to specifically discuss high carb breakfasts. There are still many doubts in this regard as some consider them to be fattening. Continue reading to find out what carbs are all about.

The health benefits of a high carb breakfast

There’s much controversy in science about the health benefits of eating breakfast and about its effects on a person’s performance throughout the day. However, it’s even harder to reach clear conclusions when we talk about the various types of breakfast and their nutritional composition.

For instance, fats have been removed from the first meal of the day for many years, and the common eggs and bacon breakfast was widely criticized. The debate goes on and, with it, the discussion about the benefits of high carb breakfasts, those high in protein and fat content.

In this case, it seems more difficult to draw definitive conclusions. This is because there’s little research, and they’ve been prepared with highly different methodologies. However, a systematic review of 38 studies did provide some ideas in this regard.

  • A low glycemic breakfast appears to be good for adults with difficulty regulating blood glucose but the conclusions don’t extrapolate to healthy adults
  • A high carb breakfast could be a good choice after a training session on an empty stomach. This is because it’s the way to replenish the glycogen deposits

In any case, there’s no doubt that anyone who’d like to benefit from breakfast must get used to wholesome meals. Thus, they can only do so by making proper food choices.

A bowl of oatmeal and fruit.
There’s little evidence in regard to the possible health benefits of high carb breakfasts. However, these are particularly good for active people.

A wholesome high carb breakfast

Carbs have been a part of breakfast for thousands of years. For instance, bread was already among the most consumed foodstuffs in the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Oats, rice, and other cereals were a part of their diet already.

However, sugary industrially-processed breakfast cereals, pastries, and white bread became the main ingredients of most people’s breakfasts during the past century. Unfortunately, these types of food mainly contain refined flour, trans fats, and fructose syrup.

Thus, according to a study in the journal Nutrients, these types of food quickly raise blood sugar levels. In addition, cereals have lost most of their nutrients so their regular consumption is associated with obesity and increased levels of cavities in children.

So the best advice for having a high carb breakfast is to opt for those that are natural, contain fiber, and have no added sugar. For example:

  • Whole-grain whole wheat bread, German bread, and whole wheat sourdough bread
  • Whole oat flakes or any other cereals like quinoa, rye, buckwheat, etc.
  • Legumes, whole or as a hummus
  • Fresh fruit and dates

A wholesome breakfast

Whatever the case, if you’d like to include healthy carbs in your breakfast, you must also include other types of food that can provide you with the fats and proteins you need to meet your nutritional requirements.

This is because it’s the only way to remain satisfied for a longer period of time, and, in turn, maintain the proper glucose levels in your blood. Consequently, the risk of energy spikes and dips will be lower.

These days fats are no longer “evil” when it comes to nutrition but you must know how to select the good ones. In addition, protein must be present in every meal of your day. Thus, try to include:

A woman holding a jar.
In addition to the carbs, you must include good sources of fat and protein to your breakfast. Yogurt is a great option.

Read more: Non Fattening Carbohydrates You Should Eat

A high-carb breakfast can be healthy

Breakfasts can include carbs as long as they’re wholesome — oatmeal and any other whole grain. Avoid refined flours, highly processed commercial cereals, and other industrial options. This is because their nutritional contribution is nearly non-existent.

Thanks for reading.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.