Helping people make progress with their health and fitness goals has been a great joy of mine for several years now. One of the most difficult patterns to break for people is what they eat (or don’t eat) for breakfast. We all are, to some degree, creatures of habit and throw off our morning routine and EVERYTHING goes wrong! As part of an overall scheme of health in our lives, BREAKFAST sets the tone for the day with your METABOLISM . Start it wrong and your body will actually be working AGAINST you ALL DAY LONG.
TOP 3 MUST AVOID FOODS for Breakfast:
1. FRUIT JUICES
I used to be a HUGE orange juice drinker as a kid. I would normally drink somewhere around 12-16 oz of the liquid fruity nectar in the AM. Many people think just because something is “natural” that it’s naturally good for you. This is NOT the case with fruit juices. The reason why is 2 fold:
- Most fruit juices contain a good deal of NATURAL SUGAR calledFRUCTOSE .Just 8 ounces (1 cup) of orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar, 26 grams of carbohydrates and 112 calories. MOST people drink more than 8oz. This is NOT a great way to start the day since fructose is a fairly simple sugar and causes a SPIKE in blood sugar. When that blood sugar spike happens, there is always THE CRASH after which the hormone cortisol is released into the blood stream which triggers CRAVINGS. Avoiding spikes that fruit juices contain can DRASTICALLY reduce your cravings throughout the day.
- Many fruit “juices” are actually fruit “cocktails” of a mix of juices, artificial flavors, and added sugar. Watch your label on these. They may even say 100% juice, but it is often a blend. So, if you are looking for antioxidants, do SMALL AMOUNTS of cherry, pure pomegranate or grape juice. AND, don’t do these FIRST THING in the AM.
2. COFFEE CREAMER
I used to be a PUMPKIN SPICE CREAMER ADDICT ! I couldn’t wait for each Fall for International Delight to bring out that particular flavor. So, coffee as a whole, NOT BAD for you at all. Many studies have shown that some caffeine each day can be helpful and even improve athletic performance. BUT, this means JUST THE COFFEE and not the junk that we, as Americans tend to put in our coffee. Many people will add up to 8x the actual suggested amount on the nutrition label. This can add between 150-200 calories each morning if we aren’t careful, not to mention that we are adding fat/sugar to our bloodstream early in the day. This will manifest itself in sluggishness throughout the day. Avoiding creamer can be great but difficult to transition off. I did the following to ween myself off of creamer:
- Began using stevia to sweeten along with some skim milk
- Experimented with FLAVORED coffees (vanilla I really like)
- Finally moved to some stevia with no milk or creamer
I know this one SEEMS obvious, but we REALLY need to consider what these little treats do to your body. There are 3 strikes that make doughnuts OFF LIMITS for people who are taking their health seriously. This doesn’t mean that you CAN’T EVER have one, but truly, WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO after developing better habits. Here are the 3 strikes:
- LOTS of FAT – Doughnuts are FRIED in fat, often LARD which cooks them up golden brown. But this adds SO MUCH fat to their content per bite that you are on average consuming 1 gram of fat per bite.
- SIMPLE CARBS – Because they are made with refined white flour, this is another one of those carbs that SPIKES your blood sugar level not to mention #3.
- LOTS of SUGAR – Usually donuts have glazing, icing or come filled with lots of sugary substances. From chocolate to whipped cream, these extras take donuts over the top in making our bodies work OVERTIME in STORING FAT. Check out the diagram below.
Following each SPIKE in blood sugar, there is a FAT STORAGE cycle that takes place, and then “ the CRASH “. When your blood sugar bottoms-out, the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin are released which then trigger new cravings. And guess what? The cycle REPEATS itself for your next meal. You’ll crave the same things in order to get you that “sugar high”, only to follow with the fat storage and crash once again. A better way is to MAINTAIN blood sugar levels by eating food considered LOW on the glycemic index. Check out the chart below:
One final tip is to ACCELERATE FAT BURN not only by how you are eating but by moving your body in a way that can benefit you most. Check out this short video:
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