“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” famous words of American writer and nutritionist Adelle Davis in the 1960’s, makes sense, right? This meal is going to set you up for the rest of the day.
The latest evidence suggests we should be looking at consuming between 15-25% of our daily energy intake at breakfast. Scientists go on to explain that a healthy breakfast should be high in nutrients such as fibre, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
But, wont skipping breakfast make me thin?
No, skipping breakfast all together can have serious consequences. It's easy to think that skipping breakfast will lower calorie intake and help with weight loss, but research has shown the opposite to be true.
Skipping breakfast triggers a hormonal response that affects weight, specifically by increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin increases before a meal and decreases after a meal.
Studies have found that people who skip breakfast tend to eat more at lunch and dinner, as ghrelin levels remain high. Not only will skipping the most important meal of the day NOT make you thin, it can be detrimental to health, with one study finding a 27% increase in coronary heart disease among North American men who regularly skipped breakfast.
One of the nation’s favourites, eaten once or more times a day by close to 14 million Brits.
Britain's Top 3
- Weetabix Original
- Kellogg's Corn Flakes
- Quaker Oats So Simple
It’s reassuring to see two of the nation’s favourites contain lower levels of sugar, and we can pretty much bet on cereals such as Kellogg’s Frosties having a load of sugar in them, not so Great after all. However, what’s scary is the sugar content in some of the brands claiming to be “healthy!”
So, what’s wrong with cereal
While breakfast cereals can be a nutritious option for breakfast, offering a good source of energy, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals, it can also be an incredibly misleading choice as many contain high levels of sugar, they’re highly processed.
Sounds more like dessert than breakfast.
Sugar, sugar & more sugar 🍩
A study conducted by Action on Sugar, a public health campaign group, in the UK revealed concerning results regarding the sugar content in breakfast cereals primarily targeted at children. The study found that 14 out of the 50 cereals tested had a sugar content of at least 33.3g per 100g, which is equivalent to approximately eight teaspoons.
What’s particularly worrying is many British children under 10, are consuming more than 50% of their recommended daily sugar intake (11g) at breakfast. Whether it be through sugary cereals, drinks, and/or spreads, not exactly a balanced breakfast, aye.
A survey for Public Health England's Change4Life campaign found that many parents were unsure of what constitutes a healthy breakfast for their children. 84% of the parents whose children consumed more than 50% of their daily recommended sugar dose before school considered their child's breakfast to be healthy.
We’ve had a look at some of popular brands (not specifically children’s) and their sugar content, I think you’ll be surprised. I mean just look at the amount of sugar in the bottom two 😯 you wouldn't be alone in thinking "ahh its got fruit in it, it must be healthy", but its dried fruit which is essentially concentrated sugar. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if you were to exercise shortly afterwards, as your body would utilise that sugar, but to have a bowl then sit at your desk, get ready to jump on that glucose spiking/dipping rollercoaster 🎢
It's Highly Processed
The grains used to make cereal are processed into fine flour and cooked, losing many of their natural nutrients in the process. The flour is mixed with ingredients like sugar, cocoa, and water, and often extruded at high temperatures to shape the cereal. The cereal is dried and shaped into various forms, and may even be puffed, flaked, or shredded, or coated in chocolate or frosting.
This level of processing not only strips away the natural nutrients of the grains but also adds unhealthy elements. It is important to be mindful of the ingredients and the level of processing in the cereal you choose and look for whole grains and low sugar options.
Misleading Health Claims
Breakfast cereals are often marketed as healthy with claims like "high in fibre" and "whole-grain" on their packaging, but they often contain large amounts of refined grains and sugar as their main ingredients. Despite these health claims, these products are not necessarily healthy. Studies have shown that these claims can be misleading and lead consumers to believe that the product is healthier than it actually is. Take Fruit and Fibre as an example, why wouldn’t you perceive it as healthy, the name itself sounds ‘healthy’ but as shown in the table above it has 24g of sugar per 100g.
‘Protein boosted’ is not the same as ‘source of protein’ or ‘high in protein’ the latter two are regulated claims authorised by EFSA.
What about Granola, that’s healthy right?
Granola can be a nutritious and convenient food, but it is important to read the label carefully, as some granolas are high in sugar, calories and many contain seed oils such as rapeseed or sunflower, sometimes both. When choosing granola, look for brands that use whole grains, healthy fats, and natural sweeteners, and avoid those with added sugar and artificial ingredients or alternatively check out our Granola Shopping Guide where we’ve done all the above for you 😊
Here's a quick summary:
- What to look for when choosing a granola
- What to avoid
- What brands are best
- Where you can find them in your go-to supermarkets (like Tesco, Sainsbury's and more!)
And it's free to download. Click this icon to see it 👉📑
On mobile? Click here instead 👉📲
@tonichealth Granola 🌰🌱 Healthy, unhealthy, high sugar, low sugar, granola can be a bit of a minefield these days, but we’ve got a few favourites to help you tackle the shelves 👍🏽✨ We elaborate more on this in our blog this week, plus we’ve included a downloadable shopping guide too 🤓 #breakfast #granola #health #healthy #healthylifestyle #nutrients #diet #healthhack #healthhacks #tonicapproved #brunch #fyp #fypシ #daily #instadaily ♬ original sound - Tonic Health 🍊
Still not sure what to have, check out the British Heart Foundation’s Best to Worst Breakfasts (click here)
More on TikTok this week
This week we’ll be covering all things breakfast, from granola and porridge to sourdough and butter/spread 🧈 Sunna will be checking out some cereal in the US, plus it’s PANCAKE DAY on Tuesday 🥞
As always, any questions, or topics you would like covered, send our founder Sunna an email on email@example.com