In my opinion, breakfast is the most important meal you can possibly eat. However, many people disagree about what a healthy breakfast looks like—and what an unhealthy breakfast really is. Here are the foods from my unhealthy breakfast list—avoid them during the entire day, especially at breakfast time:
Sweet, Cold Cereals
These types of cereals tend to be very high in refined grains, sugar, concentrated fruit juice, and other additives—all unhealthy foods you shouldn’t be eating, especially early in the morning. Although they may be fortified with some vitamins, the amounts are either not well absorbed or in very low concentrations. The biggest problem I have is the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates contained within these cereals. They are a good source of sugar, but nothing else! This is just a high-calorie but nutrient-poor breakfast choice. Even plain “Corn Flakes” can greatly increase blood sugar and insulin levels dramatically; this will result in rebound hunger shortly thereafter, and also cause you to gain body fat.
Although bacon has become more popular in the last few years, it’s not a wise choice for a regular breakfast item. Bacon is mostly composed of pork fat and, depending on how it is cooked, can contain a great deal of saturated fat. Bacon is also a cured, smoked meat product, which can also contain large amounts of sodium and nitrates. These substances can lead to high blood pressure and precancerous cell growth in the stomach and esophagus. I would try the peameal or turkey bacon as opposed to the strip bacon, which is not as healthy for you.
Avoid eating sausage—it’s an unhealthy breakfast item, for sure. Sausage is similar to bacon, because it can contain large amounts of saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates. Most sausage is manufactured from pork and is very high in fat. When I decide to eat sausage, I grill products made from turkey. There are a number of different varieties available which I find quite excellent—and which are much better alternatives than unhealthy foods like sausage.
Although I happen to enjoy genuine buttermilk pancakes, I don’t feel they are a healthy breakfast choice. The reason is because the batter is made from white or pastry flour. These types of flours are refined and used to make pastries and baked goods. Eating these foods can raise blood sugar and insulin levels dramatically, cause weight gain, and increase your blood pressure. Instead of eating these unhealthy foods, try buckwheat or whole grain varieties as a healthy alternative.
Hash brown potatoes are a common breakfast item, but they also can be quite high in fat, depending upon how they were prepared, so I avoid adding these unhealthy foods to my breakfast. Most hash browns are fried on a skillet with oil, butter, or margarine. They can also be deep-fried if they were previously frozen. Hash browns can contain a great deal of saturated fat and fat calories. A much better alternative is roasted potatoes. Don’t have an unhealthy breakfast; choose healthier alternatives instead.
It’s important to start your day off right. I start my day with a power breakfast—it keeps me energetic and full for a good few hours. Enjoy!
Schwartz, M.B., et al., “Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children,” J Am Diet Assoc. April 2008; 108(4): 702-5.
Scherr, C., et al., [The influence of food preparation methods on atherosclerosis prevention]. Rev Assoc Med Bras. March-April 2013; 59(2): 148-54.