If you’re like me, once in a while there is nothing you enjoy more than breakfast for dinner. And, that might be because I eat dessert for breakfast. Many Americans unknowingly eat loads of sugar in the morning, in their waffles, pancakes and muffins. Since too much sugar should be avoided, you might want to reconsider your breakfast menu.
USDA guidelines recommend that less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake–less than 200 calories out of an average 2000 calories–come from food and drinks with added sugars. That’s about 13 teaspoons of sugar at most. Sugar contributes to obesity, tooth decay and chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Natural sugars from fruit are generally good for you.
Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina report for Vox that many of the breakfast foods you may enjoy eating have amounts of sugar similar to cupcakes, cookies and ice cream. Muffins contain 37 grams of sugar, the equivalent of nine teaspoons. A serving of Chobani yogurt has 130 calories, just 10 fewer than a half cup of Breuer’s vanilla yogurt.
Even eating granola, much like snack bars, is generally the equivalent of eating candy. Granola, which many assume to be a healthy breakfast food, tends to contain a lot of sugar. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that small servings of granola often have 200 calories.
Because granola is so tasty, many people eat far more than the typical half-cup serving. It’s totally understandable. But, smart? That depends on whether you’re looking to stay healthy.
What should you eat for breakfast if you want to eat healthy? The National Institute on Aging recommends eating fresh fruits, shredded wheat, whole wheat bread, eggs, and creamy oatmeal for breakfast. The National Institutes of Health also recommends whole grains, fat-free or 1% milk and other foods rich in healthful nutrients—including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. And, if you really want the pancakes or waffles, try to limit the maple syrup and other sugary toppings!
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