You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
However, 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.
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 10 worst foods you can eat in the morning.
1. Breakfast Cereals
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.
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 (1).
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.
A 2011 report by the Environmental Working Group examined some of the most popular breakfast cereals consumed by children. It found that a 1-cup serving often contains more sugar than three chocolate chip cookies.
A high sugar intake may raise the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions (2).
Bottom Line: Many breakfast cereals are even higher in sugar than cookies and desserts. Adding whole grains or artificial vitamins and minerals does not make them a healthy choice.
2. Pancakes and Waffles
Pancakes and waffles are popular choices for weekend breakfasts at home or in restaurants.
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 (3, 4).
In addition, pancakes and waffles are typically topped with pancake syrup, which contains high-fructose corn syrup.
Bottom Line: Pancakes and waffles are made from refined flour and topped with high-sugar syrups. They may promote insulin resistance and increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
3. Toast with Margarine
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 (7).
Second, most 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 (8, 9, 10, 11).
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 (12).
Bottom Line: Toast with margarine raises your blood sugar and insulin levels, causes rebound hunger and increases your risk of weight gain and heart disease.
Despite a reputation for being healthy, most muffins are just small cakes in disguise.
In addition, commercially sold muffins are often very large. One review found that a typical packaged muffin exceeds the U.S. Department of Agriculture, standard portion size by 333 percent (13).
The dramatic increase in portion sizes over the past 30 years is believed to play a major role in the obesity epidemic.
Bottom Line: Muffins are usually high in refined flour, refined vegetable oils and sugar, all of which are very unhealthy.
5. Fruit Juice
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 (14, 15, 16).
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.
Bottom Line: Despite a reputation for being healthy, fruit juice is very hign in sugar. It actually contains a similar amount as sugary soda.
6. Toaster Pastries
Toaster pastries are an undeniably quick and easy breakfast option. However, their ingredients are anything but healthy.
For instance, Pop Tarts contain white flour, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil.
The health claim “baked with real fruit" is highlighted on the front of the box, in an attempt to persuade you that these pastries are a nutritious breakfast choice.
In addition to being high in sugar and refined flour, toaster pastries only have a couple of grams of protein.
Bottom Line: Toaster pastries are high in sugar and refined carbs, yet low in protein, which can increase hunger and food intake.
7. Scones with Jam and Cream
Scones topped with jam are truly more like dessert than a meal.
Scones are made by mixing refined wheat flour, butter and sugar with desired flavorings. The dough is then shaped into small rounds and baked.
They're usually topped with cream and jam or jelly. The end result is a high-calorie, sugary breakfast with little fiber and protein.
Studies have shown that fiber has many benefits, including keeping your blood sugar well-controlled. It also makes you feel satisfied so you end up eating less (19).
On the other hand, eating a breakfast that's high in refined carbs can spike your blood sugar and make you hungrier
In one study, obese children reported feeling hungrier and less satisfied after eating a high-carb meal than after eating a high-protein, low-carb meal. Their hunger and satiety hormones also changed (20).
Bottom Line: Scones topped with cream and jam provide little nutrition other than calories. Easily digested carbs and a lack of fiber can drive hunger, leading to increased food intake and weight gain.
8. Sweetened Non-Fat Yogurt
A bowl of plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt topped with berries is a great example of a healthy breakfast.
However, a container of fat-free, sugar-sweetened fruit yogurt is not.
In fact, many flavored non-fat yogurts contain more sugar than a comparable serving of ice cream.
Removing the fat from dairy products and adding sugar changes a nutritious breakfast option into a food that is better suited as an occasional treat.
Bottom Line: Non-fat sweetened yogurt is very high in sugar and may contain more of it than ice cream. It also lacks the natural dairy fat that can increase fullness.
9. Granola Bars
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.
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.
Bottom Line: Granola bars usually contain several types of sugar that negatively affect blood sugar and insulin levels. They also lack protein and fiber.
10. Processed, Gluten-Free Breakfast Foods
While there's no harm in avoiding gluten, eating many of the processed gluten-free foods now available may cause problems.
These flours have a high glycemic index, so they raise blood sugar rapidly. This rise leads to high insulin levels that can cause rebound hunger and weight gain (24).
Also, gluten-free pancakes, muffins and other baked goods are no better than traditional wheat-based versions due to their low protein and fiber content.
Bottom Line: Gluten-free packaged foods are made with flours that raise blood sugar, which may lead to elevated insulin, increased appetite and weight gain.They also lack protein and fiber, which contribute to fullness.
Take Home Message
Breakfast has the potential to set you up for a day of great energy levels, stable blood sugar and control over your appetite and weight.
On the other hand, making a poor choice at breakfast can leave you hungry and struggling to get through the rest of the day.
It can also increase your risk of developing health problems in the future.
If you're going to eat breakfast, make it one that contains protein, healthy fat and fiber from unprocessed, whole foods.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.
- Millions of Cicadas Set to Emerge After 17 Years Underground ... ›
- Cicadas Show Up 4 Years Early - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.
- Why Hunting Isn't Conservation, and Why It Matters - Rewilding ›
- Decline In Hunters Threatens How U.S. Pays For Conservation : NPR ›
- Is Hunting Conservation? Let's examine it closely ›
- Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation | Oklahoma ... ›
- Oklahoma Bill Calls for Bigfoot Hunting Season | Is Bigfoot Real? ›
By Jon Queally
Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.
- Fossil Fuel Industry Is Now 'in the Death Knell Phase': CNBC's Jim ... ›
- Mayors of 12 Major Global Cities Pledge Fossil Fuel Divestment ... ›
- World's Largest Public Bank Ditches Oil and Coal in Victory for the ... ›
Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="54af350ee3a2950e0e5e69d926a55d83"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yf4NRKzzTFk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
- Giraffe Parts Sold Across U.S. Despite Plummeting Wild Populations ... ›
- Green Groups Sue to Get Giraffes on Endangered Species List ... ›
- Conservationists Sound Alarm on Plummeting Giraffe Numbers ... ›
By Daisy Simmons
1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
- 5 Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner - EcoWatch ›
- Can Your Pets Get and Transmit Coronavirus? - EcoWatch ›