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The worst breakfast foods you can eat

Get every day off to a healthy start by avoiding these bad-for-you breakfast foods

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breakfast morning rush weekday routine

Get a healthy start to your day

When it comes to weekday mornings, it’s easy to go on autopilot and not think about what you’re eating. But making healthy choices in the morning can set the tone for how you feel the rest of the day. Not only that, but eating a healthy breakfast every day can reduce your risk for diseases like diabetes and cancer.

We talked to Jean LaMantia, registered dietitian and author of the Essential Cancer Treatment and Nutrition Guide Cookbook to get the scoop on which breakfast foods to avoid.

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deli meats

Bacon, ham and sausage

Processed meat has nitrates that are linked with colorectal cancer,” says LaMantia. “In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research published a list of the top 10 things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Avoiding nitrates is one of them.”

What does that mean for morning meat lovers? It’s time to find a different breakfast option.

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healthy breakfast diet cereal

Sugary cereals

How can you tell the difference between a bad-for-you sugary cereal and a good one?

“Some cereals are full of carbohydrates and sugar,” says LaMantia. “When you eat them, your blood sugar will spike and then bottom out.”

Since you probably don’t want your energy to crash at the beginning of the day, it’s best to avoid those cereals. Instead, “choose cereals with higher protein and fibre,” she says.

Another option?  “Add walnuts or ground flaxseed for more fibre and protein.”

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doughnuts

Toaster pastries, doughnuts and danishes

“Not only are these pastries made with refined white flour, but there’s sugar added,” says LaMantia.

Sugar is the worst way the fuel your morning, because it “results in a rapid rise in blood sugar.”

That means you’ll be hungry sooner, and increase your chances of high blood sugar, obesity and diabetes.

If all those health risks aren’t enough to put you off pastries, there’s another way they’re detrimental to your health. “Many scientists believe sugar and cancer are linked,” says LaMantia.

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Nutrition: Maple syrup-a sugar with potential benefits

Packaged pancakes with artificial maple syrup

While natural maple syrup is a healthier sweetener, there are many artificial syrups on the market that are full of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener, which is derived from corn, is also present in most packaged and processed foods.

“High fructose corn syrup can lead to more abdominal obesity and visceral fat-which is stored between the organs,” says LaMantia. That’s the fat that leads to cancer.”

A recent study in the journal Global Public Health also linked high-fructose corn syrup consumption to Type-2 diabetes.

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oatmeal

What should you eat for breakfast?

“In general, it’s best to look for whole grain spelt with protein,” says LaMantia.

She recommends oatmeal with flaxseed, walnuts, cinnamon, soy beverage (or skim milk) and fruit.

Her personal favourite breakfast?

“I usually have half a pumpernickel bagel with crunchy (natural) almond butter and chili jam, with lots of cinnamon,” she says. “Pumpernickel is a whole grain, almond butter is high in vitamin E and protein, and cinnamon has shown to help lower insulin resistance.”

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