Most of us heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
In fact, this is largely a myth. Although it may be true for some people, others actually do better when they skip breakfast.
Additionally, eating an unhealthy breakfast can be far worse than not eating at all. A healthy breakfast includes fiber, protein and healthy fat that gives you energy and makes you feel full.
In contrast, an unhealthy breakfast can make you feel sluggish, cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of chronic disease.
Here are the five worst foods you can eat in the morning.
Many people think breakfast cereals are a nutritious choice for children and adults.
Cereal packages often include health claims, such as “contains whole grains.” A label may also suggest the cereal is a good source of nutrients like vitamin A and iron.
In reality, these cereals are highly processed and contain only a small amount of whole grains. Also, nutrients are artificially added in a process called fortification.
One study found that children who consumed a fortified breakfast cereal designed to improve immune function ended up getting sick just as often as children who didn’t consume the cereal.
Breakfast cereals contain 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.
Even “nutritious” cereal choices, such as granola that contain oats, are often loaded with sugar.
High sugar intake may raise the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.
Toast topped with margarine may seem like a good breakfast choice since it doesn’t contain saturated fat or sugar.
However, this is actually an unhealthy breakfast for two reasons.
First, because the flour in most bread is refined, it provides you with few nutrients and little fiber.
Because it is high in refined carbs and low in fiber, it can spike your blood sugar levels very fast.
Elevated blood sugar leads to rebound hunger that causes you to eat more at the next meal, which can make you gain weight.
Second, most of the margarines contain trans fats, which are the most unhealthy type of fat you can eat.
Food manufacturers create trans fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them appear more like saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature.
While studies have not shown saturated fats to cause harm, trans fats are definitely bad for you. There’s a massive amount of evidence that trans fats are highly inflammatory and increase your risk of disease.
Also keep in mind that margarine can be labeled “trans fat-free” but still contain trans fats, as long as it is less than 0.5 grams per serving.
Pancakes and waffles are popular choices for weekend breakfasts at home or in restaurants.
Both pancakes and waffles contain flour, eggs, sugar, and milk. They are cooked somewhat differently, however, in order to achieve a distinct shape and texture.
Although they 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 contribute to insulin resistance and obesity.
In addition, pancakes and waffles are typically topped with pancake syrup, which contains high-fructose corn syrup.
High-fructose corn syrup can cause the inflammation that drives insulin resistance, which may lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Pure maple syrup is a better choice than pancake syrup, but it’s still high in sugar, which adds empty calories to the meal.
According to the American Heart Association, most people consume 2–3 times the recommended daily upper limit for added sugar.
Granola bars may sound like great breakfast options, but they’re often no better than candy bars.
Although unprocessed oats are high in fiber, granola bars provide only 1–3 grams of fiber, 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, granola bars sometimes contain chocolate chips or dried fruit.
The protein content of granola bars also tends to be low, further confirming that they are a poor breakfast choice.
Fruit juice is one of the worst choices you can make if you’re trying to avoid hunger, weight gain, and chronic disease.
Some fruit juices on the market actually contain very little juice and are sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. High sugar levels increase your risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, 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 sugar-sweetened beverages.
Drinking fruit juice causes your blood sugar to rise very quickly because there’s no fat or fiber to slow down absorption. The resulting spike in insulin and drop in blood sugar can make you feel tired, shaky and hungry.