Aside from the 5-a-day campaign, one of the biggest public health messages is ‘always have breakfast’, and I can’t think of a more vague and counter-productive health message to give the public. This is an open invitation for companies to persuade you to eat their breakfast products, and this is contributing the the public health dilemma we find ourselves into today, namely, the increase in type 2 diabetics, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The most common breakfast in the UK is a bowl of cereal, with semi-skimmed milk and a cup of sweetened tea of coffee – this will be a familiar scene for many. Its quick to make and gives us the kick that so many of us need in the morning. You may even browse the nutritional information on the box, and see a whole host of vitamins and minerals which fortify the cereal, and, in your semi-conscious state you might think that you are doing yourself some good, but you aren’t.
If you have a regular sized portion of an unsweetened cereal like cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk with a cup of coffee, you are looking at about 18g of sugar for breakfast. If you have a sugar or chocolate coated cereal, you might can be consuming as much as 24g of sugar.
For the calorie conscious of you, that is about 70-100kals of sugar, or about 4.5 – 6 teaspoons of sugar. Can you imagine getting up in the morning and eating 6 teaspoons of sugar!? And then there are some people who might have some fruit juice, or a few more teaspoons of sugar in their tea/ coffee, or even a larger bowl of cereal, which could easily reach over 10 teaspoons of sugar. For breakfast. Every day.
This isn’t healthy, but it is something which many people can’t start the day without – they need the energy boost from the sugar and the stimulation from the caffeine, it is something the body has come to expect and need. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say they can’t start the day without a cup of coffee.
Regularly consuming this amount of sugar, will damage arteries, cause plaque build up and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It will cause your cells to become more resistant to the effects of insulin, increasing the risk of diabetes.
It will cause appetite fluctuations, cravings for sugary foods, and stimulate more fat storage which leads to obesity.
This isn’t opinion, this is fact, high sugar foods causes cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, yet they are continuously being sold as a healthy breakfast option by manufacturers who piggy-back on the vague public health message of always have a breakfast.
Changing this breakfast to lower sugar options can have greatly benefit your health. Foods like eggs, a home made fruit smoothie or milkshake, yoghurt or porridge with some berries on are much healthier options (and tastier) than cereal. Don’t add sugar to your tea/ coffee, or just add less to begin with. The changes are simple, but the benefits are massive.
Images courtesy of dearbarbz365