It's well known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, an unhealthy breakfast is worse than no breakfast. If you're not eating the right foods for breakfast, "It makes the body release excess insulin and stores fat as a result," says Payal Kothari, Integrative Nutritionist and Life Coach. Hence, it is important to kick-start the day with a breakfast that provides the right combination of the required fibre, protein and healthy fats.
Thanks to our fast-paced lives, we intentionally or unintentionally wolf down greasy and unhealthy quick fixes for breakfast. These quick breakfast foods can take a toll on our bodies in the long run. To ensure we don’t continue making these breakfast mistakes, we asked nutrition experts to share the worst breakfast foods according to them.
Sugary breakfast cereals
Ask nutritionist Kavita Devgan about breakfast cereals and without hesitation she will say that they are nothing but a combination of refined carbohydrates and sugar which spike our blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar leads to rebound hunger and makes us eat more at the next meal.
Agreeing with Devgan, Kothari adds, “Many breakfast cereal labels proudly advertise that they are good sources of nutrients like vitamin A and iron. In reality, they are more harmful than beneficial as these are artificially added. Noting sugar’s position on the ingredient label would be a good way to filter out unhealthy cereal boxes. The higher sugar is on the list, the greater damage to our bodies. Reading a label wisely is important before choosing your breakfast cereal.”
Just coffee or tea
Downing just a single cup of tea or coffee for breakfast and thinking you’re good to go? Devgan says think again. “Coffee for breakfast on an empty stomach can severely impact our digestion system in the morning. Plus, it is acidic, which is again bad news. The same goes for black tea.”
It is a similar situation for fruit juices. It’s easier to gulp down a glass of juice for breakfast rather than eating a whole fruit before heading to college or work. But Kothari suggests otherwise. Eating a whole fruit for breakfast not just satiates hunger but also provides energy for the whole day.
“Drinking juice for breakfast causes your blood sugar to rise very quickly making you tired and shaky. Lack of fibre or fat does not satiate your hunger. Most bottled or canned fruit juices from the market hardly have any fruit juice in them. It is sweetened with sugar/high fructose corn syrup, thus, increasing your risk of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases,” explains Kothari.
Yoghurt is a good alternative but packaged yoghurt comes loaded with 9 to 10 grams of sugar, preservatives and stabilisers, which is a huge mistake. “Good fats in your breakfast meal keep you full throughout the morning and help absorb essential nutrients from the foods you eat. Excess sugar may make the yoghurt tasty but it causes sugar spikes which make you feel happy for a short duration, followed by a slump and sugar craving,” explains Kothari.
The expert adds that preservatives and stabilisers, when consumed on a daily basis, are harmful to the gut bacteria that live in the digestive tract. Hence, she suggests going for homemade yoghurt over the ones available in stores.
Coming to this type of meat, Devgan says, “they contain a high dose of sodium and filler ingredients like dextrose and corn sugar. In addition to this, they are also calorie-heavy due to the high-fat content in them.”