Cereal (DON’T EAT THIS!)

Food is our sustenance. It dictates how we feel, think, and operate on a daily basis. By far, the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Taken literally, the word means to break the fast. Consider that every morning we wake up, we’ve been fasting for 7 to 12 hours. Providing ourselves with a wholesome and nutritious breakfast is the best, most productive way to start the day.

The most important reason not to eat most name-brand cereals is because they have copious amounts of sugar added to them — typically ranging from between two and four teaspoons per cup. The USDA does not recommend added sugars for energy intake because added sugars provide us with no nutrition but lots of empty calories. Furthermore, they leave us with bursts of energy for short periods of time followed by a precipitous drop in energy. Added sugars also release brain chemicals associated with pleasure, such as dopamine, which make us happy while we ingest it, but unhappy when we don’t.

And don’t be quick to trust cereal boxes touting high fiber or whole grains, either. This is merely a marketing ploy to make consumers feel good about the products they purchase while simultaneously distracting people from the reality that simply adding nutrients and whole grains does not make a cereal healthy. Don’t get me wrong — whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type II Diabetes. But if you eat a bowl of cereal full of added sugar, the health benefits of whole grains are negligible. If you insist on eating cereal for breakfast, find ones that contain a wide variety of whole grains and very little/no added sugars. If you want to sweeten your cereal, consider adding raisins or currants.