Breakfast- Breaking Down the Myth
We are also all aware that breakfast is 'the most important meal of the day', meaning we need to fill up on nutritious foods which will kick start our bodies and brain into action. Indeed the Weetabix website says 'research has shown that people who skip breakfast do not perform as well either physically or mentally as those who do eat breakfast. Other research demonstrates that eating breakfast could also improve your mood and behaviour.' Clearly breakfast is an important part on our list of things to do in the morning.
However, this is where the problem lies. Are those 'standard breakfast foods' actually the nutritious options which are going to help us through the day, giving us that physical and mental energy and bringing about a good mood?
Lets analyse the standard choice of cereal, skimmed milk and banana
Glycemic index is a measurement of how fast 50g of a particular carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels and therefore insulin levels in the body. Most cereals have a glycemic index ranging from 60 to 110. As a rule, a glycemic above 50 are not great choices when trying to lose weight- due to their specific effects on blood glucose and insulin levels - (something you can read about in my other post on sugar). They release sugar into the blood quickly and only keep your energy levels high for a short time period.
Here is a list of standard cereal glycemic indexes-
As you can see they are all above 50 and these are the so called, 'healthy cereals'. What would that make the naughtier cereals like?
Most people will opt for skimmed milk over normal milk as it doesn't contain as high fat content. Firstly, fat isn't bad for you and is actually very important in our diets and so by choosing skimmed milk you are missing out on essential nutrients- (you can read about this in my Fat post). Secondly, skimmed milk has a higher glycemic index to full fat milk - 32 and 27 respectively. It also has a high insulin index which is the way we measure blood insulin response to a food compared to a reference food glucose. Full fat milk does not have this characteristic. Is this increase in blood glucose and insulin spike worth it for a bit of healthy fat?
Glycemic Load is slightly different from glycemic index as it indicates how fast a standard portion of a particular food raises blood glucose, again giving an indication of glycemic and insulin response. Bananas have a glycemic load of 12 - yes we have established this is low, but other fruits such as cherries have a glycemic load of 3, so are there better options?
Cereal, Milk, Bananas