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I eat breakfast every day. Without food to pacify my growling stomach in the morning,
I just cannot function optimally. Many people I know skip breakfast for a variety
of reasons. Some don’t eat breakfast because of time constraint, some simply don’t
have an early appetite while some breakfast skippers are looking to cut calorie intake
and shed off a bit of extra weight.
However, the advantage of eating substantially in the first part of the day should
not be ignored. When you get up in the morning, the last meal that you had would
be at least 8-9 hours ago. And, if your first meal of the day is lunch, that deprives
your body of nutrients for more than 12 hours. Without food to fuel your body and
brain, you’ll feel tired and more likely to make poor food choices during lunch time.
With so many breakfast choices and ideas available, how can you be sure you’re feeding
your body with healthy calories? Let’s examine a few of the most commonly eaten breakfast
foods and find out what are the unhealthy breakfast foods that you should avoid at
What Breakfast Foods Are Bad for You?
Cereals No doubt cereals make a quick and easy breakfast choice, but some may be actually
bad for you. Many of us are not keen on cereals associated with bran, and we prefer
our cereals “frosted”, which may have astonishingly high levels of added sugar.
Take a look at the sugar content per serve of these seemingly healthy cereals – Raisin
Bran (19g), Kashi Go Lean Crunch (13g), Frosted Flakes & Frosted Mini-Wheats (12g),
and Cinnamon Toast (10g) – they contain as much sugar as a candy bar!
Not only will consuming too much sugar can cause excessive weight gain over time,
it also robs your body of Vitamins and minerals and cause your blood sugar level
to rise sharply.
When insulin level in your blood fluctuates, it makes you feel tired and listless.
Headaches and mood swings are also apparent when the blood glucose is unstable.
In addition, sugar is highly addictive. The more sugar you consume, the more unbalanced
your blood glucose becomes, and the more sugar your body craves in order to fix the
imbalance it perceives.
If you prefer sweet-tasting cereal, try adding fresh fruit to bran cereal. Naturally
sweet fruits banana and mango are great additions. Or, spoon in a dollop of fruit
yogurt (without added sugar) to improve the flavor.
Alternatively, eat a bowl of hot oatmeal porridge topped with dried fruits such as
dates or raisins, and sprinkle with some sunflower seeds or chopped nuts like walnuts
for a bit of crunch. Oatmeal is way better in terms of nutritional value. It has
more fiber, phytochemicals and protein than packaged cereals. It also provides you
with a steady level of energy and fullness to control hunger so you stay comfortably
full until lunch and won’t overeat.
Bacon, Ham and Sausages Processed meats have received the most criticism for their
high saturated fat and salt content, meaning they are not heart-friendly foods. A
slice of regular ham, for example, contains 2 times more fat and 25 times more salt
than an equivalent portion of pork tenderloin.
Besides, sodium nitrite which is found in most processed meat including bacon, breakfast
sausage, beef jerky, pepperoni, cured ham, luncheon meat and hot dog is closely associated
with a higher risk of cancer. Food manufacturers use this chemical to turn dead meat
looking fresh and vibrant red.
If you can’t go without processed meats, then consume fairly large amounts of Vitamins
C and E before dietary exposure to sodium nitrite. This helps inhibit the conversion
of sodium nitrite to cancer-causing nitrosamines.
However, the best thing you can do to reduce cancer risks is to avoid processed meats
altogether or opt for nitrate-free varieties. Better yet, start your day with eggs
(a more healthy source of protein as compared to breakfast meats), wholemeal toast
(complex carbs) and a small piece of Vitamin C rich fruit (kiwi, orange, grapefruit),
which will help your body make the best use of the iron in the eggs.
Fruit Juice If you think a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice without any added
sugar is an elixir to youth and good health, then you might want to think again.
The truth is fructose in fruit juices is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and
causes your insulin level to go haywire. But if you eat a whole fruit instead of
drinking fruit juice, it slows down the pace of absorption of natural sugars in your
body. Another huge plus, you also get fiber from eating a whole fruit.
Muffins Since the 80’s muffins had been marketed as a light and nutritious breakfast
food. But look closely at what goes into a muffin – basically it is nothing more
than sugar, flour and butter or margarine. Hence, a muffin is no different from any
A bakery bought muffin has a whopping 350-600 calories and about 12-27 grams of fat,
plus lots of empty calories from sugar and other additives. Have muffins as occasional
treats, but not for breakfast.
Energy Bars Maybe you don’t have the time for a sit down breakfastsoyou grab a healthy
power bar on the way out to combat hunger attack. But a power bar is a candy bar
gussied up with protein powder.
It offers very little nutrition – just a slab of sugar, fat and added flavors from
chocolate, nuts, seeds and dried fruits – and can sap your energy, leaving you hungry
by mid morning.
If you really want a “grab-and-go” breakfast bar, then make your own granola bars.
That way, you have control over the ingredients and the portion sizes, both of which
are major factors in healthy weight loss.
In summary, open your eyes to what you eat. Throw out any unhealthy breakfast items
that will make you stray away from healthy foods. My maxim for healthy breakfast
choices – if Grandma is not eating it, why should you?
Fruits are undeniably good for health but not all fruits help weight loss. Learn
what are the best fruits to eat when trying to lose weight so you drop pounds quickly
while enjoying the right fruits in the right amounts.