Breakfast is always a good idea. But the foods you choose to eat in the morning can make or break the rest of your day. If you start your morning with a well-balanced meal rich in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, you can enjoy a delicious energy boost to sustain you until lunchtime. But the reverse can happen if you choose foods high in added sugars or saturated fats without protein or fiber to balance them out.
We spoke with a few of our trusted dietitians about their picks for the worst breakfast foods that can potentially shorten lifespan if eaten consistently over time. Here’s what they had to say, and for more healthy eating tips, check out Popular Foods That Cause Lasting Damage to Your Body.
They can be delicious and easy, but regularly eating cereals with added sugar for breakfast can have lasting negative effects on your health over time.
“Sugary or highly refined grains can contribute to shortening your life, especially if it’s a daily breakfast option for you,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at go wellness. “Cereals like this are usually very high in sugar and very low in protein, which means they will raise your blood sugar levels, leaving you hungry and irritable. This leads to eating more sugar throughout. of the day, which can lead to things like type 2 diabetes and potentially heart disease.”
If you’re short on time or really want to indulge in the nostalgia of a bowl of cereal, try one of these healthier cereal options that have less sugar, plus more fiber and protein.
Before you bring home bacon, you might want to think about its impact on your health over time and maybe 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 raise your blood pressure. It also contains other additives, such as nitrites, which have been shown to be extremely unhealthy for the gut. Your gut plays a role very important in communicating to your brain, which helps maintain your overall health and well-being.”
Treating yourself to a sweet treat for breakfast once in a while is a good thing, 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,” D’Angelo says. “However, the main problem with this breakfast is the amount of sugar you’re consuming in such a small portion. Once you’ve eaten a donut, your body needs to pump out a lot of insulin to try to s ‘adapt. The blood sugar spike will always lead to a crash and lead to a craving for more refined carbs and high sugar foods. It can harm anyone’s body, especially if they eat donuts every day.”
Similar to bacon, another processed meat that can potentially contribute to health complications if eaten regularly is sausage.
“Processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausages are preserved with nitrates/nitrites, which can increase your cancer risk of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the colon and rectum,” explains Kimberly Duffy, RDN, LD, CPT. “These meats are also high in sodium and saturated fat, and if eaten frequently, may increase your risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.”
Although technically not a food, refined coffee drinks can sometimes lead to unwanted health problems if consumed daily.
“The extreme sugar in some of these drinks can increase inflammation, increase insulin response, increase risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” says Dana Ellis HunnesPhD, MPH, RD, author of Recipe for survival.