You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
However, this is largely a myth.
Although it may be true for some people, others actually do better when they skip breakfast.
Additionally, eating an unhealthy breakfast can be far worse than not eating at all.
A healthy breakfast includes fiber, protein and healthy fat that gives you energy and makes you feel full.
In contrast, an unhealthy breakfast can make you feel sluggish, cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of chronic disease.
Here are the 10 worst foods you can eat in the morning.
1. Breakfast Cereals
Many people think breakfast cereals are a nutritious choice for children and adults.
Cereal packages often include health claims, such as “contains whole grains.” A label may also suggest the cereal is a good source of nutrients like vitamin A and iron.
In reality, these cereals are highly processed and contain only a small amount of whole grains. Also, nutrients are artificially added in a process called fortification.
One study found that children who consumed a fortified breakfast cereal designed to improve immune function ended up getting sick just as often as children who didn’t consume the cereal.
Breakfast cereals contain mostly refined (not whole) grains and sugar.
In fact, sugar is usually the first or second item in the ingredients list. The higher on the list, the greater the quantity.
A 2011 report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined some of the most popular breakfast cereals consumed by children. It found that a 1-cup serving often contains more sugar than 3 chocolate chip cookies.
Even “nutritious” cereal choices, such as granola that contain oats, are often loaded with sugar.
A high sugar intake may raise the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
2. Pancakes and Waffles
Pancakes and waffles are popular choices for weekend breakfasts at home or in restaurants.
Both pancakes and waffles contain flour, eggs, sugar and milk. They are cooked somewhat differently, however, in order to achieve a distinct shape and texture.
Although they have more protein than some breakfast items, pancakes and waffles are very high in refined flour. Many researchers believe that refined grains like wheat flour contribute to insulin resistance and obesity.
In addition, pancakes and waffles are typically topped with pancake syrup, which contains high-fructose corn syrup.
High-fructose corn syrup can cause the inflammation that drives insulin resistance, which may lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Pure maple syrup is a better choice than pancake syrup, but it’s still high in sugar, which adds empty calories to the meal.
According to the American Heart Association, most people consume 2–3 times the recommended daily upper limit for added sugar.