You know what they say: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether or not that’s an accurate saying, there’s no denying that how you start your day is definitely important to your health — especially when it comes to the food you put into your body. Your breakfast can make or break how you feel throughout the day, and over time, it can make or break how you feel on a regular basis. Starting your day with the wrong foods can be bad for your overall health, and some options should especially be avoided if you’re trying to lose weight and get a flat stomach.
To learn more about some of the most popular breakfast foods you should consider cutting out if you want to drop a few pounds, we spoke to health experts Lisa Richards, registered dietitian and creator of The Candida Diet, and Heather Rayle, Ph. D., aka Paleo Diet Coach. They pointed us towards two common items: donuts and cookies. Learn more about the health effects of these high-carb foods below!
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While bagels are a classic breakfast item for many of us, they’re unfortunately one of the worst options when it comes to losing weight—largely due to all those scary carbs and calories they pack, not to mention the fattening ingredients we usually add to the mix. “Bread is one of the worst baked goods to buy because of its caloric density and the toppings it’s usually eaten with,” Richards warns.
Even without any of those added extras, the bread is loaded with “nearly 1,200 calories per pound,” she points out. Think about it: You probably already know that white bread is off-limits if you’re watching your weight, and that bread presents many of the same problems, but they’re usually worse because they’re so dense.
Then there’s the issue of what to top a muffin with—because, let’s be honest, none of us eat regular bread. “Cream cheese, sweeteners, nut butters, and high-fat meats used as toppings add to the calorie density of the bread, too,” says Richards. This only makes things worse.
However, we won’t tell you that you can never enjoy your favorite bagel shop order again if you want to cut back. It may be best not to break the habit, and to use mild cheese whenever possible.
If you tend to eat sweets more than savory, pancakes are probably the thing you like best over bread. Unfortunately, as you can probably guess, it’s not exactly a healthy alternative. This is because in addition to being high in carbs and calories, they also tend to be very high in sugar, which can throw a wrench in your weight loss goals when eaten in excess. Foods like donuts, which contain a mixture of refined wheat and sugar, “require a fraction of the calories eaten to digest, known as the thermic effect of food (TEF),” warns Dr. Ryle, which can negatively affect metabolism. In addition, the processed ingredients will “make us hungry again within a few hours due to the fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) that occur when the body processes carbohydrates and sugar.” In short, sugar makes you crave more sugar, and we all know that’s never good for weight loss.
But it’s not just short-term food cravings and overeating that makes eating such food problematic. “Over time, high-carb diets can lead to obesity and diabetes as our bodies stop responding to the insulin our body secretes to keep blood sugar stable after eating these foods,” she says. For this reason, it’s best to stick to homemade, high-fiber muffins instead.
Like we said earlier, it’s important to remember that moderation is always key — which means if you really want a nice sweet blueberry pie or a crunchy egg and cheese sandwich once in a blue moon, feel free to treat yourself. However, when it comes to healthy breakfasts that you eat on a regular basis, these are two options that should be left out of the mix, especially if you want to lose weight. Instead, choose meals made from whole foods that contain plenty of fiber and protein. You might be surprised at how much better you feel (and how easy it is to lose weight) when you start your day with the right food!