By Jack Riess – Certified NASM Personal Trainer and Author of Best-Sellers: The Hip Fix, The Bakc Fix, Perfect Posture
Does your breakfast betray you?
Many believe that their first meal of the day, particularly cereal, is a healthy choice. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find this morning routine could be harming you. Sugar-coated cereals, rainbow-hued rings, or frosted treats might already be off your list, but the problem goes deeper than just these sugary villains.
Packed with claims of being “heart healthy”, “fiber-filled”, and “chock-full of vitamins & minerals”, many cereals seem wholesome. However, in my two decades studying food biochemistry, I’ve discovered a shocking reality about the cereals lurking in your pantry. This article reveals just a handful of these truths.
Even those “Whole grain” or “Whole Fiber” cereals can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance and blood sugar levels. Regardless of their base – wheat, rice, or corn – these cereals trigger a scarily big rise in your blood sugar.
This leads to a chain reaction, releasing fat-storing hormones and causing you to crave carbohydrate late in the day – a recipe for weight gain and energy drain.
Even fiber-added options, such as Fiber One cereal, result in a surge in blood sugar levels similar to low-fiber, rice, or corn-based cereals. The starches in these cereals rapidly turn into sugar in your body, equal to the harm of consuming 45-65 grams of sugar or pure corn syrup.
This sharp rise in blood sugar can damage your cells via a process called glycation, accelerating aging in your joints, brain, skin, and organs. No cereal mascot will reveal these hidden dangers.
The surge in blood sugar also inhibits the release of growth hormone (the “youth hormone”), thus accelerating aging. As for the claim of cereals being a “good source of vitamins and minerals”, it’s mostly a sham. Most vitamins and minerals in cereals are synthetic, less absorbable than natural ones, and can potentially harm you in some cases. For instance, synthetic vitamin E is seen as harmful, while the natural variant is beneficial.
Your morning bowl of cereal might be inviting stubborn belly fat and diabetes.
Regular cereal consumption taxes yourorgans that control your blood sugar. Daily insulin levels surge, leading to decreased insulin sensitivity and potentially type 2 Diabetes, and daily blood tests. High insulin levels also stimulate body fat storage. If leanness is your goal, cereal is your foe.
Cereal consumption may also lead to gut inflammation and damage.
Particularly those containing wheat due to their gluten and lectin content. Cereals based on corn, mostly made from GMO corn, pose potential long-term health threats, given the lack of long-term studies on GMO corn health effects. Rice-based cereals are no better; they cause a blood sugar spike comparable to pure table sugar.
Cereals can also trigger carbohydrate cravings in the evenings.
This leads to excess calorie intake. Cereal initiates a rise and fall of blood sugar and insulin throughout the day. A study comparing egg and cereal breakfasts showed that those consuming egg breakfasts consumed fewer calories throughout the day due to stable blood sugar levels and balanced hormones. Thus, eggs control your appetite, whereas cereals increase your appetite for more starchy and sugary carbs.
Cereal intake trains your body to rely on carbohydrates for energy.
When blood sugar dips, you need more carbs, resulting in an energy slump. Conversely, relying on healthy fats (olive oil, pasture-raised meat, eggs, avocados, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil) for energy trains your body to be a fat destroying hero. This approach creates a “fat adapted metabolism”, which involves reducing overall carb intake while simultaneously increasing healthy fat intake. This approach doesn’t necessarily mean going extremely low-carb, but significantly lower than most people consuming a modern diet.
Use healthy fats for energy!
By primarily using healthy fats for energy, you balance your hormones and maintain very even and controlled blood sugar levels throughout the day. This results in controlled energy levels without the typical spikes and energy crashes experienced by most people consuming a carb-heavy diet. An additional perk of creating a “fat adapted metabolism” is that it naturally aids in body fat loss. No magic ratio of macronutrients works for everyone, but many people find a significant decrease in carb intake and a simultaneous increase in fat intake beneficial.
Instead of typical cereals, try healthier alternatives that are still quick and easy. One option is a bowl of plain, full-fat organic Greek yogurt, which is packed with healthy gut probiotics, healthy fats, and protein. Add in a handful of fresh, organic berries, a handful of almonds or pecans, and a touch of stevia or vanilla protein for sweetness. This breakfast will help keep you lean and balance your blood sugar, energy levels, and hormones for the day.
Another option could be a combination of eggs, veggies, avocado, and even organic breakfast meat. A quick, five-minute breakfast of eggs over easy, sliced avocado, and a couple of turkey slices is not just healthy but delicious.
Steering clear of cereals is just one step toward better health.
There are many “healthy” foods you should avoid or substitute for healthier alternatives. After all, what we eat today forms the basis of our health tomorrow. Aim for a diet that fights fat, inflammation, and diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, rather than unknowingly consuming “health junk foods”. Explore truly healthy alternatives for a more nutritious and energetic life.
Hidden Secret to Natural Weight Loss
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