How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Everyone, from talk show hosts to health care practitioners, seems to have an opinion on the matter. So let’s look at the research.
How Important Is Breakfast?
There are many conflicting studies on this subject. A study published in the journal of obesity suggests that eating your largest meal in the morning helps to prevent weight gain. It states that breakfast-eaters are less likely to have type 2 diabetes and tend to have a lower BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol than breakfast-skippers.
Interestingly, other studies suggest that skipping breakfast is the way to go if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight. In one such study, researchers from Utah Valley University concluded that when habitual breakfast-skippers eat breakfast, the result is a higher caloric intake and weight gain.
At the end of the day, the jury is still out on whether breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. However, one thing experts seem to agree on is that our choice of breakfast food matters a lot.
THREE WORST BREAKFAST FOODS
There’s no way around it, cereal is possibly the worst thing you can have in the morning. It’s made from highly refined grain that has been stripped of most of its nutrients during processing and then fortified with low-quality chemical versions of vitamins and minerals. Even worse, a bowl of cereal has more sugar than a glazed donut, which means it’ll spike insulin and then cause an energy crash.
Bacon, sausages, ham and salami are some of the worst breakfast foods despite their popularity. They have high amounts of sodium, saturated fats and nitrates, all of which have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and cardiac arrest.
Orange juice is a breakfast staple thanks to its high level of vitamin C. But what you might not realize is that a 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar. Chugging that much sugar on an empty stomach without any fiber to slow its absorption can spike insulin and spell havoc for your liver and gut health.
THREE BEST BREAKFAST FOODS
Greek yogurt is the perfect grab-and-go breakfast food. It contains loads of calcium, B vitamins and double the protein of regular yogurt. The plain, unsweetened kind is healthier than the fruit-flavored kind but if that’s too bland for you then sweeten it with berries or banana slices.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Fresh fruit salad is much healthier than fruit juice because it has lots of fiber to slow the absorption of sugar, reducing the risk of an insulin spike. Research has also confirmed that whole fruits contain more nutrients than fruit juices.
It takes just a few minutes to prepare a nutritious veggie omelet with a 3:1 ratio of egg whites to yolks, and sautéed spinach, peppers and tomatoes. Removing some of the yolks helps to reduce fat and cholesterol without completely eliminating important nutrients such as vitamin A, choline and B vitamins.
So there you have it. If you choose to eat breakfast, use the above tips to ensure that it’s healthy and nutritious.