Breakfast of Champions (With 88 Grams of Fat!) | Chris Kresser

Breakfast of Champions (With 88 Grams of Fat!)

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A friend of mine was observing me making my breakfast the other day. She’s been hip to the dangers of low-fat diets and the benefits of saturated fat for some time now, but even so she was pretty surprised with just how much fat I was plowing into my smoothie. We thought it might be fun to actually measure the amount and do a full nutritional analysis on my breakfast.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 cups of whole, raw milk
  • 8 oz. of whole, plain yogurt made with raw milk
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • 3 TBS of extra virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 TBS of raw, grass-fed butter(melted)
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries (frozen or fresh, depending on season)
  • 2 raw egg yolks (from pastured chickens)

And here’s the nutrition breakdown:

nutrition data

calorie breakdown

The results are enough to give a cardiologist a heart attack. My morning fruit smoothie contains 88 grams of fat and 1,097 calories. 66% of those calories are coming from fat. According to the calorie calculators (that I normally pay no attention to), a person of my height and weight that is very active should consume approximately 2500 calories per day and no more than 83 grams of fat in a day (at 30% of calories). As you can see, I’m blowing right past that in my first meal of the day!

Of course the powers that be suggest that only 1/3 of those fat calories come from saturated fat. Oops! A full 62 of those 88 grams of fat in my smoothie are saturated. Yum!

Anyone still laboring under the delusion that eating saturated fat makes you fat might think I weigh 300 pounds eating a breakfast like this every day. On the contrary, I have to struggle to keep the weight on. I am 6’2 and weigh about 170 pounds. Yes, I am relatively active but nothing extreme. I commute by bicycle almost everywhere, and that makes a big difference. I go to the climbing gym once or twice a week, surf and kiteboard when I can, and practice martial arts occasionally. But we’re not talking about 1.5 hour workouts on the Stairmaster or running half-marathons every day.

What’s great about this breakfast is that it fills me up until lunch (because of all the fat, of course) and gives me all the nutrition I need for the morning. As you can see from the following chart, the smoothie is almost meeting (and in one case exceeding) the US RDA of several vitamins and minerals:

vitamin data

I should also point out that this is generally the only sweet thing I eat each day. I have completely lost my craving for sugar. I mean completely. No deprivation, no rules – I just don’t want it anymore. This is coming from a guy who started cooking at a very young age just so he could make his own chocolate chip cookies!

How did I lose my craving for sugar? By eating a lot of fat. Fat creates satiety, which is the feeling of being satisfied after eating.

When we don’t eat enough fat, we crave carbs and sugar because we don’t feel satisfied. And ironically, eating carbs and sugar cause hormonal changes that stimulate more cravings for carbs and sugar. It’s a vicious cycle.

So if you want to reduce your cravings for sugar, eat more fat! Saturated, animal fats of course.

In case you’re wondering, lunch and dinner are usually some kind of grass-fed meat along with a cooked vegetable and a salad. And of course the vegetables are covered with butter or cheese, and the salad has nuts, avocado, cheese and olive oil. Why? Read my recent article “Have some butter with your veggies!” to find out.

  1. Hey Chris,

    Could you make a case of high protein, lower fats in regard to this breakfast ? ala bacon and eggs etc ?

  2. Maybe I’m not putting enough fat in my smoothies. I’m still having major cravings for food before lunch, something I’ve been trying to avoid. I’m going to adjust my smoothies by adding more fat and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

  3. Saw this old blog post on Twitter tonight and I’m glad I did!

    I can’t find raw milk in my area, although I’ve been getting milk from the Happy Cow creamery here in South Carolina. It’s from grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free cows and uses “old timey” low-temp vat pasteurization. It’s non-homogenized, absolutely delicious and the closest to raw available to me. Happy Cow makes awesome butter, cream and cottage cheese too!

    http://www.happycowcreamery.com/

    I’ve been looking for a good full-fat smoothie recipe that will tide me over until lunch.
    Never thought of putting BUTTER in it along with my coconut oil.
    Gonna try your recipe in the morning!
    Thank you!

  4. Hi Chris,

    Found this blog post a while ago and have intentions of trying it out soon, but I was just wondering what your opinion is on having it straight after a strength workout?

    My current aim is putting on muscle mass and all is going well right now, and I’m just on the look out for new food recipes to keep things fresh on the nutrition side of things.

    Normally I’d have a high protein meal after my workouts, but I was just wondering as this is a high fat meal is it beneficial or not to have straight after a strength workout??

    Your thoughts would be appreciated!

    Cheers

  5. I need your help. I have CFS — been disabled for 13 years now, and getting worse — also have high anxiety — that ‘wired by (extremely) tired’ feeling.

    Folks have suggested the GAPS diet, SCD., etc.. I’m not sure I have the energy, let alone the money to try these diets, but first want to run a couple questions by you.

    I’m very skinny — and this has worsened in the last year, esp the last six months, even losing muscle in my hands and feet. So I need to GAIN weight, not lose it.

    But every time I try adding more saturated fat to my meals, I get palpitations, and/or very uncomfortable “restless leg” type symptoms. Really, really uncomfortable.

    What would you suggest?

  6. Jay:
    1. I have a fast metabolism and I’m very active.
    2. Constipation is almost always about insufficient or bad gut flora. Try eating more fermented foods or taking a pro/pre-biotic.

    • Yep, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt are the way to go. I use to have some issues with Dairy, but when I eat a pickle before I eat ice cream or milk, not a problem :))))

  7. Hi Chris,

    I’ve was turned on to the Perfect Health Diet and your blog a couple of months ago and have been adjusting my diet and doing research ever since. I really enjoy your blogs and I liked your Breakfast Smoothie and have been making my own version at home trying to stay as close to yours, but living in MD getting raw milk is next to impossible. That said, I have 2 questions.

    1. How can you possibly drink the entire smoothie? It makes 3 or 4 tall glasses, way more than I can drink in one sitting. My wife and kid have some and I still have some left over to add to fruit and cottage cheese the next day or 2.

    2. Seems that the smoothie, and I think the 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in particular are giving me constipation. This did not happen for the first month or so of the diet, but started up right when I tried the smoothie. Is this typical in any way? I’ve always eaten more saturated fat than was considered healthy, but also ate lots of grains and some sugar. I cut those out along with the refined vegetable oils and all was well until the smoothie. Any ideas would be appreciated. They do taste great.

  8. Hi Chris
    Thanks for your work. I have been doing much research and reading on nutrition myself and I am getting seriously overwhelmed with constant flip-flops, conflicting advices and proving/disproving studies. ARGH!
    A quick observation however: I rock-climb regularly, and I am at my peak when I eat enough carbs (with brown rice being best apparently) before a session. If I don’t, I experience a dramatic drop in endurance/strength. Now, I have to try eating fat instead of carbs and report on the results!
    Also, I am French… and people have been eating LOTS of bread for a very long time. My grandparents still eat bread with about anything (and I am glad to report they’re all past 80 and still active and pretty healthy). The grain prohibition seems to conflict with, say, Michael Pollan’s advice (which is partly based on Weston Price’s findings) of eating whatever is traditional in your culture… So, what to do? The more I read, the more puzzled I get.

  9. Tough position to be in, and I don’t envy you. My experience is that people change only when they’re ready. Trying to force it before that is a recipe for disaster. But of course it’s difficult not to try when you care about that person and want them to be well.

  10. It was some sort of breath test (I can’t remember the actual method, but I do remember it was odd and didn’t involve a blood sample). Thanks though for the lightbulb advice on the GB/liver issue. I didn’t think about the fact that anyone I’ve known with gall bladder problems has problems that are much like this. I wonder if my doctor would be able to suggest a detox routine that my stubborn and irritable husband would be able to follow? He’s notoriously flagitious about trusting any sort of medical professional, so it is always a sticky issue getting him to change any practice for health reasons. He won’t exercise unless a bear is chasing him, but if I can convince him a simple diet substitution would make his digestive problems go away and show him quickly that it works, that’d be ideal.

  11. If it was a blood test for H. pylori, you can’t depend on those results.

    Fat malabsorption is a sign of poor GB/liver function. A detox would definitely be in order.

  12. He has been tested for H. pylori and the test was negative. I think his issue is mainly with the excess fat in the meats, not the protein. He is prone to intestinal issues when he eats too much fat. The dairy (cheese, milk products) and also sweets (especially chocolate) tend to exacerbate any reflux issues or immediate indigestion problems. I’ve also switched from wheat pasta to rice pasta when we have pasta, so that he can eat it (wheat pasta is impossible for either of us to digest, but we don’t have it often anyway).

  13. The key, of course, is to address his digestive problem so he can eat real foods. I suspect he has hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) because of his apparent difficulty digesting protein, and because H. pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers, thrives in a low acid environment.

  14. Ouch! on the triglycerides/HDL ratio for my husband! (His worked out to be just under 3)! If only I could figure out how to wean him off the bready stuff, but he’s convinced that carbohydrates are easy on his stomach (he has a chronic ulcer and many other digestive issues). He refuses to eat breakfast at all due to always feeling ill in the morning, but he also absolutely has to have a cup of coffee in the morning or else he can’t function (I understand this myself, being similarly addicted). Although I’ve managed to increase the amount of vegetable matter and non-fatty meat he consumes, he maintains he is sensitive to dairy (but still insists on having sour cream dip) and lays off heavy meats like hamburger or bacon when he is having digestive troubles. And I may never get him to eat breakfast–he flatly refuses anything I offer him. Not sure what to do with him, really…he requested an “ulcer-friendly” dinner tonight, so I suggested a pork roast with vegetables. If he manages to eat just that without a bunch of bread and chips on the side, he might be all right. Cheers and wish me luck!

  15. Congratulations onnamusha! That’s fantastic.

    Kenji, here’s my last VAP test. I’ve highlighted the important parts. My triglycerides/HDL ratio (which is the best indicator of heart disease risk on a standard lipid profile) is 0.66, well below the suggested cut-off of 2.

    And, as you can see, I’m firmly within Pattern A. This should be no surprise. As I’ve pointed out before, saturated fat increases HDL and decreases small, dense LDL & triglycerides – whereas carbs have the opposite effect. Onnamusha’s experience is yet another example of this.

  16. Hi, Chris,

    I am revisiting this post after a year of having changed my breakfast from the cereal I described earlier to fruits along with my favorite omelet fried in coconut oil (this morning I had a bacon, spinach and cheese 2-egg omelet). Having changed just this one aspect of my diet–the type of food I consume in the morning–I have lost 25 lbs. this year and have a total cholesterol of 188, HDL 65, LDL 110 and triglycerides of 65. Although there was a flag raised on the numbers due to the higher than normal LDL, I’m not too worried, as the triglycerides are very low. My husband, on the other hand, has a total cholesterol not much higher than mine (192), but his HDL is low (43), LDL higher (124) and triglycerides much higher than mine (127). He still eats potato chips and about 2-3 times the bread and bread products that I do (I’ve pretty much given up all the “crunchy” stuff except when I eat raw carrots, which are just as good with dip as any chip). Although I still have a bad weakness for sweets, I think the advice you gave me about lowering carbohydrates for breakfast has paid off! Oh yes, my fasting glucose tested lower this time–78. Cheers and thanks for all the good advice!

  17. If Chris eats this smoothie quite regularly it would be interesting to know if he’s had a blood test and what the cholesterol screening numbers look like, the LDL/HDL and triglycerides.

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