Is this breakfast food?
I was recently amazed by a television commercial introducing a brand new breakfast menu selection for a local restaurant chain. I won’t name names, but there in front of me, in living color, was a plate containing two large, fluffy pancakes with a white substance (described by the announcer as “cheesecake”) sandwiched between, smothered with your choice of fruit pie-filling, and topped with a mountain of whipped cream.
My eyes popped out like one of those old cartoon characters, my teeth hurt, and I could feel my blood sugar soaring just looking at the picture!
“Come and join us for breakfast!” the voice-over cajoled.
Misnomer for breakfast
Breakfast food? This new menu item could be called a lot of things:
"A Heart Attack Waiting to Happen!"
"Dessert for a Family of Four!"
"Hello Type II Diabetes!"
"Death to Your Diet!"
But definitely not breakfast food!
Ending the fast
As the name suggests, breakfast is the meal where you "break" your overnight "fast." Your body has used a lot of its resources repairing and replenishing while you slept, and it is ready for a new infusion of nutrients such as protein, healthy fat and carbs, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Another way of saying this is that your body is in need of foods from the various food categories, Bread/Cereal, Dairy, Protein and Fruit/Vegetables.
It is also a time when your body needs some fiber to help stimulate your digestive tract to eliminate the waste products that have accumulated overnight.
Mainly one food group
Now, a creative person might say that the above-mentioned menu offering provides a selection from all four groups: Pancakes – Bread/Cereal group; Cheesecake filling – Protein or Dairy group; Fruit topping – Vegetable/Fruit group; Whipped topping – Dairy group (unless it’s the non-dairy variety).
However, I am here to tell you that there is virtually one group represented in this meal, and that’s the SUGAR group! It is safe to say that the excessive amount of sugar actually negates any nutritional value that might be found in this meal. There is also little or no fiber present to help speed this dubious breakfast on its way through your digestive tract.
The pancakes are made with white flour (another form of sugar) and white sugar. The fruit topping is mostly sugar. The cheesecake filling is fat and sugar, and the whipped topping is fat and sugar, and if it’s the non-dairy variety, hydrogenated (trans-fat) fat with sugar. I won’t even go into the chemical additives that abound in this kind of meal.
High sugar intake = Increased risk of heart disease
A recent study of 6,000 Americans showed that a high sugar intake is directly correlated with low HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol), as well as high blood triglyceride levels. This means that consuming a high sugar diet increases your risk factors for heart disease.
The buck stops here
In case you’re wondering, I don’t blame the restaurant for offering a menu selection so far removed from what breakfast food should be. It’s our own fault for creating a demand for this type of health-destroying meal. If nobody ordered it, the restaurant would not have it on the menu. After all, they are in the business of pleasing their customers.
I’m also not suggesting, as some politicians are, that we ban unhealthy food or levy taxes against it. We still live in a free country, which includes the freedom to eat unhealthy food.
What I am suggesting is that we educate ourselves about what our body needs to be healthy, and which foods help us fight disease and feel well. These foods are generally whole and unprocessed, with a particular emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, monounsaturated fats, and contain a minimum of added sugar.
If you break your fast with food that will benefit your body rather than burden it, you will have the energy and vitality, not only to get through the day, but also to live long and well.
Order real breakfast food, if they have it
The next time you are eating out for breakfast, how about ordering some whole-grain pancakes with fresh fruit? Or maybe some eggs with whole grain toast. Try it you’ll like it!
As an added bonus, if you re-educate your palate to enjoy the natural sweetness found in real breakfast food, you may find that those sugar-and-chemical-laden menu choices, no longer interest you.
It’s also possible that if we change our ordering habits, restaurants will rethink what they put on their menus for us to order as breakfast food. It’s not an impossible dream!
Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,
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