10 Foods You Should Never Have For Breakfast
If you are serious about getting into great shape you have to stay away from the common trend of eating what is essentially dessert for breakfast or skipping it altogether. In today’s fast paced world many of us are in quite a rush and the bad eating habits that come with a hectic lifestyle partly to blame for our current problems with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Most will either skip breakfast or grab high calorie foods like donuts, pastries and highly processed boxed cereals. All of which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and really sabotage your efforts at getting into better shape.[1,2] By skipping breakfast altogether you also set the stage for overeating later in the day as your body tries its best to compensate for the lack of nutrition that it was supposed to get first thing in the morning. Studies show that having most of your calories later in the day can increase likelihood of weight gain, even on a lowered calorie diet. (See my article- Eating Late Can Make You Gain Weight.) Furthermore, the perceived loss of willpower many feel when they overeat later in the day is simply a result of not getting adequate nutrition at breakfast time due to bad breakfast choices or from skipping breakfast entirely. Taking that into consideration, a change in eating habits isn’t about willpower but a matter of making better selections day. A good start with healthy breakfast choices makes it easier to keep on making good food choices as the day goes on. Remember also that
SKIPPING BREAKFAST OR ANY MEAL FOR THAT MATTER CAN BE JUST AS BAD AS EATING THE WRONG FOODS!
That being said, the practice of putting convenience before nutrition has created an environment where savvy marketing has lead most to accept what are truly unhealthy foods as their choices for the most important meal of the day. Riding soundly on the cacophony of often contradictory information on what foods are really healthy, many breakfast foods are aggressively marketed as being good for you, when in fact they are not. (Those who frequent Starbucks and other trendy coffee shops should take note!) Cutting through the noise of misinformation, here is a list of ten foods that you should never have for breakfast, or at any time of the day, for that matter.
Foods You Should Never Have for Breakfast- The Short List:
Bagels are one of the highest calorie breads that you can find and they have a very high glycemic index due to the low fiber content. You might think that whole wheat or whole grain bagels are better choices but the calorie counts are pretty much the same and they are still low in fiber (you would be better off with oatmeal any day). Adding cream cheese or other spreads, can also increase the calorie count to over 500 calories a pop! Carbohydrates are important for your first meal, but you can make much better choices with higher fiber and more nutrients.
One of the first fake health foods, granola was heavily marketed as being healthy and nutritious in the 80’s but is far too high in sugar and calories to qualify as such. Sweetened usually with everything from corn syrup, to sugar and honey (which is just as bad as sugar for all intents and purposes) granola is not on the breakfast list for anyone serious about getting into great shape.
Most commercial products consist of wheat are high in calories and have a high glycemic index. Many also have corn syrup and trans fats as ingredients as well and forget about adding maple syrup if you don’t want your blood sugar levels to go through the roof! The only pancakes that you can count on are ones you make yourself with stone ground flours and without added sugars or honey.
Why desserts have become a popular choice for breakfast is beyond comprehension but croissants, éclairs, donuts, jelly filled pastries and such- high in simple sugars, wheat, all have high glycemic indices and are just about as bad a choice as you could make for the first meal of the day. Instead choose high fiber natural foods like fruit and oatmeal but not the instant kind!
Juices sound like a good idea, since they come from a natural source, but are not at all natural to the human body. Whole fruits have fiber, which in turn reduces their glycemic index, by slowing it’s the rate of absorption in our body. Juices, however do not have significant fiber levels and the since there is not much fiber present, it elevates blood sugar levels above acceptable levels. You can easily over consume juices, but you would never eat 12 apples at one sitting. However an average person’s realistic serving of apple juice gives your body just about that amount. Some argue that juices are high in micronutrients, such as Vitamin C and other antioxidants but such an argument is ridiculous. You get the same micronutrients in whole fruit, without the insulin rush. So if you want fruit, eat fruit, don’t drink juices. You’ll feel better and look better as well! Besides, the breakfast standard of a glass of orange juice is so processed that all the naturally occurring nutrients (Vitamin C included) are destroyed and manufacturers have to put the vitamins back in so what you are drinking is really dead orange juice product with a vitamin tablet dissolved in it. Not exactly the best first choice for the health conscious. Eat fruit instead!
6. Sausages & Cold Cuts
All are highly processed meats and also very high in sodium. You would be much better off eating freshly cooked meat, chicken or fish. I would also add to this category the ubiquitous American breakfast food- bacon. High in fat, high in calories, high in sodium, not that high in protein, and also high in potentially cancer causing nitrites. It should be noted as well that recent studies have found that processed meats are responsible for increased risk of heart disease so it should certainly be on your stay away list- (read more here.)
Another so called ‘health food’, but even the bran muffins are low in fiber, have far too much sugar and empty calories to be considered a healthy choice for breakfast. The low fiber content also gives it a fairly high glycemic index and you should certainly skip it!
8. Protein Shakes
Another bad idea that sounds good; you drink a shake and get all the minerals and macronutrients you need for the day, case closed. However our bodies simply are not made for liquid foods, and you find that blood sugar levels still plummet later in the day as well. Which is a great thing if you happen to be in the protein shake manufacturing business- but isn’t that great for the rest of us). At the end of the day a protein shake is really nothing more than a glorified milkshake, and should not be in your diet if you are interested in getting into optimal shape. And forget the magazine ads and articles. Supplement advertising is the main source of income for the magazines in the first place, so it makes sense for them to herald them as the greatest invention since the wheel. Read more on my article on how protein shakes can actually make you gain unwanted pounds here.
9. Cold Cereal
All cold boxed cereal, from Kellogs to the whole grain varieties sold by the so called organic companies is junk food with no exceptions (and adding milk only adds to the problems!) The obvious ones like Frosted Flakes are easily spotted as being a bad choice, but popular brands like Wheaties, Healthy Choice and others are also bad examples, as are breakfast bars. It can say ‘all natural ingredients’, ‘organic’ or what not, but there is nothing in our food supply more alien than boxed cold cereals. You will never find a Wheatie or corn flake in nature and in order for any cereal of this nature to survive for prolonged periods they have to be highly processed which not only takes a ways the naturally occurring nutrients, but also creates a food product that our body is not designed to consume. Many of these cereals also have corn syrup and large numbers of unpronounceable preservatives added to them but thanks to extensive marketing boxed cereal is accepted as a staple for many, especially kids and college students, but keep in mind that they are filled with preservatives and all of the vitamins and minerals you see listed are added by machines after the refinement process and will never be absorbed the way your body would from a fruit or naturally occurring food. Moreover they all have a high glycemic index which will go a long way in increasing your insulin levels and increasing your visceral abdominal fat stores. Do not be fooled as well if you see a breakfast cereal in a health food store and assume that it is healthy. Health food stores are about making profit and selling products, not about providing you exclusively with foods that are wholesome, and it would be naive to think otherwise.
10. Instant Oatmeal
Since instant oatmeal is refined, even the plain variants are not as good as old fashioned oatmeal. The refining process removes a lot of the fiber, to make it cook faster, and so its glycemic index goes up. The flavored varieties are even worse and are loaded with sugar. Convenient as those instant containers may be, convenience should never be more important than making the best food choices for your body so get the non instant varieties- it is much better for you and is an excellent start to your day! Read my article on the benefits of oatmeal here.
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Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to network TV, Kevin Richardson is an award winning health and fitness writer, natural bodybuilding champion, creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Learn more about his award winning personal training services here!
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2.Clark CA, Gardiner J, McBurney MI, Anderson S, Weatherspoon LJ, Henry DN, Hord NG. Effects of breakfast meal composition on second meal metabolic responses in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006
3. Mesas AE, Muñoz-Pareja M, López-García E, Rodríguez-Artalejo F. Selected eating behaviours and excess body weight: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2012