If you or your children eat cereal for breakfast, you might not be aware that these cereals are not good for you, even those so-called "healthier" cereals.
EXACTLY WHAT IS BAD ABOUT CEREAL?
People often eat cereal to start off the day. Some even eat more than one bowl if they are really hungry. A lot of people also have it as a snack before going to bed,. The reason it is not good for our body is because the vast majority of cereals are very high in simple carbohydrates.
Most cereals contain almost 100% simple carbohydrates. For example, 24 Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheat biscuits contain 200 calories, 48 grams of total carbohydrates and 12 grams of sugar.
Eating high simple carb foods like cereals, breads, cookies and other sweets is not advisable at night because you body will not get the opportunity to burn off the calories from the carbohydrates.
Instead, the energy will be converted and stored as fat. When this happens, it is much harder for your body to break down and burn off the fat. The result is you tend to gain weight.
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT CARBOHYDRATES, ESPECIALLY SIMPLE CARBS?
Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down by the body to be used as energy. So you really get no nutritional value from them and become hungry soon after eating them. They are found naturally in foods such as milk and milk products as well as in refined sugars.
When it comes to healthy intake, the majority of carbohydrates should come from naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates (i.e. starches).
Intake of carbohydrates should vary according to various factors such as activity levels, genetics and the time of day. Most of us sleep during night time hours so we should not be eating carbohydrates at breakfast time. You have been fasting for seven to ten hours overnight.
So you do need some nutrients getting to you body cells for energy. However, healthy muscle cells and Fat cells are both ready to receive nutrients first thing in the morning.
This means only very lean people, with very few or small fat cells, or very active individuals, whose muscle cells take up more carbs, should be eating carbohydrates at breakfast time.
Obese individuals with possibly impaired glucose tolerance may be doing themselves an injustice by consuming a carbohydrate rich breakfast. For the majority of us, the optimum time to consume carbohydrates is after a workout involving strength training. Our muscle cells are ready to absorb carbohydrates and will not be turned into fat stores as readily.
ARE THERE OTHER REASONS WHY CEREAL IS BAD FOR YOU?
Cereal manufactures point out that cereals need to be eaten with fruit and milk in order to have a "balanced and complete breakfast". So, what else is wrong with cereal?
1. Extrusion Process: Dry packaged cereals are put through a process known as "extrusion." This manufacturing process includes using both high pressure and heat. This is the way cereal grains are converted into flakes, O's and other popular shapes that our kids love to play with.
Extrusion essentially destroys the majority of the nutrients and added vitamins which supposedly fortify the cereal. Amino acids or protein building blocks are especially damaged by the extrusion process making them toxic. The structures of these protein compounds are changed. Therefore, new compounds form and they are potentially dangerous to our health.
2. SYNTHETIC VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Although lots of cereals have added vitamins, they are not the natural. They are synthetic vitamins. Our bodies are not meant to use them. In fact, many man-made vitamins are eliminated by the body immediately being treated like toxins. These types of vitamins can cause various imbalances within the body leading to ongoing health problems.
In addition, our bodies cannot effectively absorb many nutrients if they are not consumed with other foods containing saturated fats. Those people who usually eat dry cereal with either skim milk or low-fat milk are getting no nutritional benefit from these added vitamins and minerals. We will take a look at the issues with pasteurized milk shortly.
3. DENATURED PROTEIN AND HIGH LEVELS OF CARBOHYDRATES IN "HEALTHIER" CEREALS: Are high fiber cereals bad for you too? High fibber cereals made from healthier grains are certainly marketed as our best nutritional choices. Examples include Kashi GoLean and Kellogg's Raisin Bran among many others. These cereals have more protein than other dry packaged cereals.
However, when the high protein grains are put through the extrusion process they create even more "denatured" protein. These are proteins whose properties have been altered by heat, chemicals or enzymes causing these proteins to lose their biologic activity. Hence, "healthy" high fiber cereals are likely worse for out bodies than presweetened junk cereals because of the high protein, ultra processed grains.
These high fiber cereals have as much or more carbohydrates than their junk cereal counterparts. One cup of Kashi GoLean has 140 calories, 30 grams of total carbohydrates and 6 grams of sugar while one cup of Kellogg's Raisin Bran contains 190 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams of sugar.
So, you can see that the so-called nutritional value of Raisin Bran is just as bad as the sugar coated Frosted Mini Wheats mentioned earlier.
WHAT ABOUT THE MILK WE PUT ON OUR CEREAL?
Many health experts today insist hat we should no longer consume pasteurized milk, Instead, we should substitute raw milk when cooking, drinking or adding it to our cereal.
The main reason is, after milk has gone through the pasteurization process, it provides very little in the way of proper nutritional value. Many valuable enzymes are destroyed. Vitamins A, B6, B12 and C are reduced. Milk proteins are converted from healthy to unnatural amino acids. The latter actually have negative effects on our health.
Also, the fact that beneficial bacteria are destroyed by the pasteurization process results in the promotion of pathogens.
Raw milk, a much healthier alternative, is a great source of "good" bacteria (i.e. lactobacillus acidophilus) as well as one of the best sources of calcium.
WHAT ARE SOME HEALTHIER BREAKFAST ALTERNATIVES?
So what are some healthier, lower carbohydrate breakfast options we can eat instead of cereal? Try alternatives like:
1. A Green Smoothie: A green drink blended with fresh Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens or kale which tastes delicious. Green leafy vegetables are some of the healthiest foods around.
2. Sprouted Bread: Made from sprouted whole wheat kernels which have been ground and baked into the bread. Sprouted grains contain more nutrients, protein and less fat than other kinds of breads.
3. Salads: Chock full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
4. Eggs: Low in fat and carbohydrates, an excellent source of protein. There are many yummy ways of preparing eggs. Studies have also shown that persons who consume eggs for breakfast as opposed to carbohydrate rich ones, have a greater feelings of satiety and are less likely to overeat or snack between meals.
5. Oatmeal with Almond Milk: Try this alternative to dry cereal and cow's milk. Oatmeal has less calories, sugar, carbohydrates and fats than other cereals. Almond milk contains no lactose and very little saturated fat.
6. Fruit: Full of vitamins, fat free, a source of natural sugar.
Hopefully, this discussion will make you think twice before you pour that next bowl of cereal. Instead, try one of the many healthy alternatives available and your body will thank you for it.
DON'T FORGET "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!"
If you're looking to transform you body, then protein is perhaps the most important macronutrient you could ever have on your side. It's the macro with the highest thermic effect of feeding (i.e you burn calories by eating it), it helps you regulate insulin by causing the release of insulin's "balancing" hormone, glucagon, and it provides the vital building blocks to support maintenance of your calorie burning lean muscle as you lose those stubborn pounds.
But, it's also typically the most expensive macronutrient, and that's the problem we're here to solve today with the below 5 DIRT CHEAP protein sources.
#1- EGGS. A dozen eggs provides 72 grams of protein for about $1.69. At that rate you can even go organic and have an extremely inexpensive meal.
#2- GREEK YOGURT. At 21 grams/dollar, this one is another penny pincher protein source that's slow digesting and versatile in its use.
#3- BEANS AND LENTILS. A can of beans or lentils packs about 45 grams of protein (and fiber) for about a buck!
#4- COTTAGE CHEESE. 48 grams of protein ready to eat out of the container--not too bad!
#5- TUNA. Perhaps the cheapest of all lean protein sources, a can of tuna yields approximately 42 grams of protein for just under $1.
Getting your daily protein requirements doesn't have to be cost prohibitive by any means; it can be DIRT CHEAP by getting a good portion of your daily protein from the above sources.
Ready for a jolt? According to the Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of adults in the United States consume caffeine on a daily basis, and they take in an average of 200 milligrams (equivalent to 2/ 5 ounce cups of coffee) per day. With those numbers in mind, it actually begins to make (some) sense that a recent survey of over 7,000 people found that most of them said they'd prefer coffee over sex. That's one popular stimulant!
That being said, even though you and all your friends and family members probably consume caffeine on the regular, we're betting that you don't know much more about the stuff, other than (a) it's in coffee and certain sodas, and (b) it's an energy-booster. There's actually a lot more you need to know about everyone's favorite legal drug--so here's a crash course.
Caffeine has a positive impact on short-term memory. There's been a lot of past research on caffeine's effects on short-term memory, but recent studies are indicating benefits for long-term memory, as well. "Around 300 to 400 milligrams per day may protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimer's," says Jaclyn London, MS, R.D., a senior dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. There is one caveat, though: "Getting enough sleep is also important in Alzheimer's prevention, so keep that in mind if you're caffeine-sensitive."
Caffeine may enhance athletic performance. Taking in some caffeine about an hour before your workout or race may up your game. "We're seeing statistically significant increases in alertness and decreases in reaction time, says London. "Also cool, caffeine has been shown to decrease your perception of effort." In other words, you can put forth more effort for what seems like the same amount of work.
The effects of caffeine are almost immediate. We can't decide if this is neat or kind of scary. "Caffeine very easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, so the central nervous system is stimulated quickly," say London. That means you'll feel more alert instantly and continue to feel a big boost until effects hit their peak 30 to 60 minutes after consumption.
The caffeine content of coffee varies a lot. In a study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, researchers found that a 16-ounce Starbucks coffee had 100 milligrams more caffeine that the same size from Dunkin' Donuts. The study also showed that the same drink from the same chain can differ by 300 milligrams in its caffeine content, depending on which day you order it. London says a standard serving of coffee typically ranges from 90 to 225 milligrams.
The caffeine content of espresso is actually a whole lot less than a coffee. Everyone thinks espresso is a caffeine powerhouse, but London says a single shot of espresso clocks in at 40 to 70 milligrams--much less than the average cup of coffee. Since you get more caffeine in drip coffee, ordering an espresso-based beverage like a cappuccino might be smart if you're sensitive to the stimulant.
Caffeine doesn't really dehydrate you. Since 98 percent of caffeine is consumed in beverages, according to the FDA, you're also probably hydrating at the same time you take it in. So although caffeine is a diuretic, it's unlikely to truly dehydrate you. Still, that doesn't mean you should drink caffeinated beverages alone exclusively. Enjoy them in moderation, and don't forget that water is still the gold standard for hydration.
Caffeine sources aren't just limited to beverages. Chocolate is also a major source, and caffeine can also be added to almost any food or substance--which is why you'll also find caffeine in some medications, like Midol. If you have a heart condition or hypertension, check with you doctor before taking any pain relievers with caffeine.