“Try to eat within 1 to 2 hours of waking,” Sears says. This will prevent you from having a low fasting glucose level for too long, which some studies suggest may raise heart disease risk.
If you have to get up unusually early on occasion, however, it may be better for your blood sugar control to wait until your usual breakfast time to eat, says Andrew McHill, PhD, a research assistant professor at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in Portland. That’s because levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, which rise in the evening and fall in the morning, may still be elevated when you wake up earlier than normal. When melatonin is high, insulin, which is responsible for processing glucose, is reduced.
And breakfast foods, including fruit, eggs, and whole grains such as oatmeal, can boost your intake of fiber or other nutrients, countering insulin resistance and improving glucose tolerance at your next meal. Research also suggests that a large high-protein breakfast—30 grams of protein (e.g., a cup of cottage cheese) and 350 or more calories—may help control appetite and satiety, and support weight control.