Breakfast is always a good idea. But the foods you choose to eat in the morning can either make or break the rest of your day. If you begin your morning with a well-balanced meal full of protein, fiber, complex carbs, and healthy fats, you can enjoy a delicious energy boost to sustain you until lunchtime. But the opposite can happen if you choose foods high in added sugars or saturated fat with no protein or fiber to balance them out.
We talked with a few of our trusted dietitians about their choices for the worst breakfast foods that may potentially lead to a shorter life if consumed on a consistent basis over time. Here’s what they had to say, and for more healthy eating tips, check out Popular Foods Causing Lasting Damage to Your Body.
They may be delicious and easy, but consistently eating cereals packed with added sugar for breakfast can have lasting damage to your health over time.
“Sugary or highly-refined cereals can contribute to shortening your life, especially if it’s an everyday breakfast option for you,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness. “Cereals like these are usually very high in sugar and very low in protein, which means that they’ll increase your blood sugar levels, leaving you hungry and irritable. This leads to eating more sugar throughout the day, which can lead to things like type 2 diabetes and potentially heart disease.”
If you’re in a bind for time or just really want to treat yourself to the nostalgia of a bowl of cereal, try one of these healthier cereal options that come with less sugar, as well as more fiber and protein.
Before you bring home the bacon, you may want to consider how it can impact your health over time and possibly even contribute to a “shorter life.”
“Most of us love bacon, but like anything, too much of it can cause serious health issues,” says D’Angelo. “Bacon is a highly-processed meat and loaded with salt, which can increase your blood pressure. It also contains other additives, such as nitrites, which has shown to be extremely unhealthy for the gut. Your gut plays a very important role in communicating to your brain, which helps maintain your overall health and wellness.”
Treating yourself to a sugary treat for breakfast every now and then is great, but eating things like donuts on a regular basis can contribute to some potential health complications.
“For starters, there are a lot of calories in donuts and other breakfast pastries,” says D’Angelo. “However, the major problem with this breakfast food is the amount of sugar that you’re consuming in such a small serving. Once you eat a donut, your body needs to pump out a high amount of insulin to try to accommodate. The blood sugar spike will always lead to a crash and will result in wanting more refined carbs and foods high in sugar. This can take a toll on anyone’s body, especially if they’re eating donuts every day.”
Similar to bacon, another processed meat that can possibly contribute to health complications if consumed on a regular basis is sausage.
“Processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausage are preserved with nitrates/nitrites, which can increase your risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal track, especially the colon and rectum,” says Kimberly Duffy, RDN, LD, CPT. “These meats are also high in sodium and saturated fats, and if consumed frequently, may increase your risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.”
While technically not a food, fancy coffee drinks can sometimes lead to unwanted health problems if consumed every day.
“The extreme sugar in some of these drinks can increase inflammation, increase insulin response, increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, author of Recipe For Survival.