Yogurt and a banana is a common breakfast that many enjoy, while assuming these are healthy breakfast options. However, if you are eating a slightly ripened banana, regular yogurt, and cup of orange juice, you have well exceeded your recommended sugar limit for the day. For women, this number is 25 grams of sugar per day, and men can consume up to 35 grams daily. Keep in mind that sugar is the #1 inflammatory food that we consume - leading to increased inflammation related to not only arthritis and pain, but also heart disease, diabetes, altzheimers, and many more. The average person eats 80 grams of sugar per day!
Other common quick breakfasts are cereal, whole wheat bagel, breakfast bars, and orange juice. These typical breakfasts can contain more sugar than you should consume for the whole day or even multiple days! There are much healthier choices - here are some options.
WORSE SCENARIO BETTER CHOICE
(grams of sugar/grams of protein) (grams of sugar/grams of protein)
Yogurt - Yoplait, 26gms/2gms Yogurt - Siggi's Greek, 4gms/15gms
Banana - ripe, 17gms/1gm *Blueberries 1/2 cup, 7gms/1gm
Orange Juice - 1 cup, 21 gms/2gms *Green Tea, 0gm/0gm
Granola - 1 cup, 20gms/9gms *2 Eggs, 1gm/12gms
Bagel - Cinnamon, 11gms/10gms *Walnuts and *almonds, 1 gm/6gms
Nutrigrain Bar, 11gms/2gms Steel Cut Oats, 0gm/7gms
* These foods have anti-inflammatory benefit
Breakfast is the time to start your day with anti-inflammatory foods that are high in protein. Protein satisfies your appetite and helps avoid those mid morning or early afternoon cravings for more sugar/carbohydrates. Most carbohydrates are inflammatory (sugar) and result in more fat deposition in your body. An ideal breakfast would be 2 free range eggs cooked in olive oil, and a small organic spinach salad with flaxseed, walnuts and almonds. If you are unsure of what your sugar consumption is, keep a food log for the day. Write down what you eat, and add up the amount of sugar in each item.
The bottom line is that your breakfast may be your most helpful meal of the day or it might get you off to a terrible start. Have some anti-inflammatory protein, avoid carbs and enjoy a day with less cravings and less pain.
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Joseph Blanda, MD