Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top 5 Breakfast Blunders

Breakfast has long been hailed as the most important meal of the day. Yet, it’s estimated that 31 million Americans skip breakfast each day. And, according to some statistics, many people consume 100% of their daily sugar allowance at breakfast. How’s that for a breakfast of champions? Let’s address some common breakfast blunders to help you start your day the healthy way.
  1. Skipping breakfast. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to rush out the door and skip the first meal of your day. However, there are many reasons to break your overnight fast. According to one classic study, 78% of people who lost weight and maintained their weight loss between 1-6 years ate breakfast every day of the week. An article about the importance of eating breakfast cites research that found people who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to exercise and eat fewer calories, including less fat, throughout the day.
  2. Eating on the run. OK, so you’re convinced that eating breakfast is important. But you’re busy, so you think it’s better to eat something than nothing. Or is it? If the to-go container looks like a banana peel, you’re on the right track. But, more often than not, the typical American on-the-go breakfast is a granola bar, cereal bar, or Pop-tart. After eating these highly processed, high calorie, and sugar-laden foods, you will find your energy is zapped by mid-morning. These foods can’t give your body the fuel it needs to run for the rest of the day so you are more tempted to snack and over-indulge. Maybe you have to get up a few minutes earlier to fix a healthy breakfast, but with all the calories you’ll save and energy you’ll gain, it’s time well spent!
  3. Drinking juice. One research group reports that the average American guzzles 11 gallons of juice each year. Most juices are high in sugar and missing a key element of a healthy diet, fiber. So, it’s no wonder we’re gaining weight at record-setting rates. One study found that people who drink juice gain more weight than people who bypass juice and eat whole fruits and vegetables instead. If your morning just simply isn’t complete without a little OJ, make sure it’s 100% juice and limit your intake: children 1-6 years of age should only consume 4-6 oz. per day; kids 7-18 years and adults should consume no more than 12 oz. per day.
  4. Eating cereal. When I was a kid, my mom would let me satisfy my sweet tooth with leftover birthday cake for breakfast. I mean, aside from Marie Antoinette, whose mom says, “Let them eat cake”? Well, as I’ve learned in a hundred different ways, it turns out my mom was smarter than I thought. According to a recent report, one cup of many common breakfast cereals packs more sugar than a small slice of cake. I'm not endorsing cake for breakfast, but let's be real: eating a big bowl of sugary cereal isn't exactly a great way to start the day! Sugar-laden cereals cause your blood sugar to soar, only to “crash” as your body quickly burns off the simple carbs and leaves your energy at rock-bottom levels. Whole grain cereals are a healthy alternative to sugary cereals (and leftover birthday cake). A recent study found that a diet high in complex carbs, like whole grain cereal, reduced levels of inflammation and helped control blood sugar levels. Increased inflammation is a risk factor for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  5. Passing on the protein. This is one of the biggest breakfast blunders, especially for those who fill up on sugary cereals. One study found that eating a breakfast high in lean protein kept people feeling full and satisfied throughout the day, so they were less likely to overeat later. The researchers also found that those who ate a high-protein breakfast were less likely to have food cravings during the day. Protein-packed foods like egg whites, Canadian bacon, or Greek yogurt are good breakfast choices.
Get your day started on the right foot and you will set yourself up for a day of healthy food choices, exercise, and weight loss. Get off on the “wrong” foot and you can look forward to a day of over-indulging, low energy, and weight gain. What do you want your day to look like?