As we have discussed, consuming a meal first thing in the morning isn’t always necessary, nor is breakfast truly the most important meal of the day. It is, however important to put the most nutritious foods in your body to fuel your day. Some people function a little better if they hold off on eating first thing and do well on just a coffee or green tea. Eating an unhealthy breakfast is far worse than eating no breakfast at all. A healthy breakfast includes protein, fat and fibre and gives you energy and makes you feel full. In contrast, an unhealthy breakfast can make you feel sluggish, causes you to gain weight and increases your risk of chronic disease.
Here are the 9 worst foods you can eat in the morning.
Cereal companies like Kellogg’s and Uncle Toby’s do a pretty good job trying to convince people that cereal is a good start to the day. Cereal packages often include health claims, such as “contains whole grains.” A package may also suggest the cereal is a good source of nutrients like vitamin A and iron.
The fact is, cereals are highly processed and contain only a small amount of whole grains. Also, nutrients are added in a process called fortification. This is an artificial way to add nutrients to something that really isn’t very healthy to begin with.
Breakfast cereals are mostly refined, not whole grains and sugar. In fact, sugar is usually the first or second item in the ingredients list. The higher on the list, the greater the quantity. A high sugar intake may raise the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Many cereals contain more sugar than biscuits, cakes and desserts. Adding a small amount of whole grains doesn’t make them a healthier choice.
2. Pancakes and Waffles
Pancakes and waffles are popular choices for weekend breakfasts at home or in restaurants. Both pancakes and waffles contain roughly the same ingredients of flour, eggs, sugar and milk. They are cooked somewhat differently to achieve a different shape but for all intents and purposes they are the same thing.
Although they may have more protein than some breakfast items, pancakes and waffles are very high in refined flour. Many researchers believe that refined grains like wheat flour contributes to diabetes. The second problem is that pancakes and waffles are often topped with maple syrup or sugar and honey. This adds to the problems that arise from insulin and blood sugar issues.
3. Toast with Margarine
Toast topped with margarine is an unhealthy breakfast for two reasons. First, because the flour in most bread is refined, it provides you with few nutrients and little fibre while spiking your blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar leads to rebound hunger that causes you to eat more at the next meal, which can make you gain weight.
Second, margarines contain trans-fat which are the unhealthiest type of fat you can eat. Food manufacturers create trans fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them appear more like saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature.
Studies have yet to show that saturated fats to cause harm while the research shows that trans fats are definitely bad for you. There’s a massive amount of evidence that trans fats are inflammatory and increase your risk of disease.
4. “Breakfast” Muffins
Despite some people saying believing they’re healthy, most muffins are just cakes in disguise. They’re made from refined flour, vegetable oils, eggs, sugar and maybe some fruit or choc chips. The only healthy ingredient is the eggs. In addition, commercially sold are often very large and contain a whopping number of calories without being filling or nutritious.
5. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is just about the worst choice you can make if you’re trying to avoid hunger, weight gain and chronic disease. Some fruit juices on the market contain very little juice and are sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. High sugar levels increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
Even 100% fruit juice contains a lot of sugar. Consuming large amounts of fruit juice can have the same effects on your weight and health as drinking soft drink. Drinking fruit juice causes your blood sugar to rise very quickly because there’s no fat or fibre to slow down absorption. The resulting spike in insulin and drop in blood sugar can make you feel tired, shaky and hungry.
6. Bakery Pastries
Pastries are an undeniably quick and easy breakfast option. However, their ingredients are anything but healthy. For instance, a Danish contains white flour, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil. Some may claim some health benefits as they contain fruit to persuade you that these pastries are a nutritious breakfast choice.
In addition to being high in sugar and refined flour, pastries only have a couple of grams of protein. One study showed that people who ate a breakfast with 3 grams of protein and 44 grams of carbs were hungrier and consumed more at lunch than those who ate a high-protein, low-carb breakfast.
7. Low-fat Sweetened Yogurt
A bowl of plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt topped with berries is a great example of a healthy breakfast. However, a container of fat-free, sugar-sweetened fruit yogurt is not. In fact, many flavoured non-fat yogurts contain more sugar than a comparable serving of ice cream. Fat helps keep you full because it takes longer to digest than carbs.
Removing the fat from dairy products and adding sugar changes a nutritious breakfast option into a food that is better suited as an occasional treat.
8. Breakfast Bars
Breakfast bars may sound like great, convenient breakfast options, but they’re often no better than chocolate bars. Although unprocessed oats are high in fibre, most breakfast bars provide only 1–3 grams of fibre, on average. However, they contain a lot of added sugar.
In fact, some of the most popular brands contain a combination of sugar, corn syrup and honey. Large amounts of these sugars can raise blood sugar, insulin levels and inflammation. Further driving up their sugar content, breakfast bars sometimes contain chocolate chips or dried fruit. Finally, the protein content of breakfast bars also tends to be low, further confirming that they are a poor breakfast choice.
9. Processed, Gluten Free Cereal Options
Gluten-free diets have become very popular in recent years because of concerns about the potential negative health effects of gluten. Although removing gluten based products like bread from your diet can have health benefits, eating many of the processed gluten-free foods now available may cause problems.
For example, a combination of flours made from rice and potato replace wheat flour in gluten-free bread and baked goods. These flours have a high glycaemic index, so they raise blood sugar rapidly. This rise leads to high insulin levels that can cause rebound hunger and weight gain
Breakfast has the potential to set you up for a day of great energy levels, stable blood sugar and control over your appetite and weight. On the other hand, making a poor choice at breakfast can leave you hungry and struggling to get through the rest of the day. If you’re going to eat breakfast, make it one that contains protein, healthy fat and fibre from unprocessed, whole foods.