9 breakfast and snack foods that are not as healthy as you think


  • There are many things that you put in your mouth and that seem to you the healthiest in the world. But they are not so. Here we identify several of them

Whether we eat breakfast or not, we should have a balanced diet throughout the day. In the case of those who fast, to supply those nutrients that have not been consumed first thing in the morning, and, for those who eat breakfast, to ensure that the daily caloric intake is not excessive. In fact, the fashion of intermittent fasting, which consists of spending between 12 and 16 hours a day without eating and concentrating the intake in the remaining hours, means that many people do not eat breakfast and, nevertheless, have a normal eating pattern. healthy.

The same thing happens with snack, a meal that most adults have eradicated and that, according to experts, can help you arrive at dinner less hungry, though doing so should always be optional. In any case, the main thing is that if you do not forgive breakfast and snack, both are made up of healthy foodssince they are, perhaps, the intakes in which it is easier to resort to options that are not recommended, such as some of these ‘false friends’ that we believe to be healthy but in reality are not.

Neither cereals help to lose weight nor are they as healthy as many brands would have us believe. Just take a look at the labels of many industrial cereals to realize that they contain large amounts of sugar, so it is best to replace their consumption with others without added sugar and try to sweeten breakfast in other ways. How about a bowl of sugar-free cereals with yogurt and seasonal fruits?

The only healthy dairy dessert is natural yogurt, as long as it is consumed whole and without sugar. Both flavored yogurts and those with added fruit, not to mention flans, custard or chocolate cups, usually contain a lot of sugar and, in many cases, fats and other additives, as well as many calories. That said, better a whole natural yogurt naturally sweetened with seasonal fruits, which we can beat, and to which we can add some crushed nuts to achieve an exemplary breakfast.

The classic breakfast of many, that orange juice that some continue to drink at full speed to prevent it from losing vitamins (another false myth) is not as healthy as we thought. By squeezing oranges, we are giving up fiber, which causes the sugars present in the juice to become free sugars and, therefore, unhealthy. This means that the consumption of juices should be occasional, and that whole fruit should always prevail to take advantage of the fiber, essential for good intestinal health. Absolutely prohibited are industrial juices, which may contain sugar and other sweeteners such as syrups.

Most of the cereal bars that are marketed, so popular as a mid-morning snack or afternoon snack, usually contain a lot of sugar and, in many cases, also unhealthy fats such as palm fat. It is always better to reach for a piece of fruit or a small sandwich of wholemeal bread with tuna or avocado, among other options.

That the biscuits, donuts, croissants, cakes and muffins are homemade means that they are, without a doubt, much healthier than the ultra-processed ones, but in no case that they are healthy and, much less, that they can become a regular breakfast or snack. Homemade biscuits and cakes usually contain, in general, large amounts of refined flour (which, given its high glycemic index, we should always try to replace with its integral version), fats such as butter, and sugar, which means that, in addition to have a lot of calories are not healthy if they are consumed on a regular basis. This does not mean that we have to give up the pleasure of having something sweet from time to time, and in this case it is always better if it is homemade and we know what ingredients it contains. But for day-to-day life, there is nothing better than innovating, using your imagination and opting for breakfast options that ‘a priori’ may seem ‘sui generis’, from a French omelette, a hummus, a can of sardines or a hard-boiled egg seasoned with olive oil and salt.

It is one of the most common false friends on the market for breakfast and snacks, which we consume believing that they are healthy and in reality they are not a good option at all. This was indicated by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) in an analysis of the different brands on the market carried out in 2017, which pointed out that there are great differences between the brands that sell them, so that the percentage of meat they contain can range from 90% and 50%. The rest is water, starches, additives, starch and, above all, salt. The OCU warns that a single serving of turkey provides more than half of the daily salt recommended by the WHO (5 grams).

Many people consume oatmeal, soy or rice drinks for breakfast and snacks believing they are healthy when in many cases, if we look at the labels, they usually contain added sugars. In this sense, the WHO recommends that the consumption of free sugars (that is, refined sugar and that which is found naturally in fruit juices, honey and syrups) represents a total of 10% of the total caloric intake, which That translates to about 4-6 tablespoons per day, an amount that many people far exceed almost without realizing it, due to the hidden sugars that many products of habitual consumption contain.

Excessive consumption of sugar has a decisive impact on health in different areas. A study known as ‘Whitehall 2’, the most exhaustive carried out on the relationship between sugar consumption and depression, indicates that higher rates of sugar consumption are related to a higher incidence of depression. Other research has linked the consumption of sugar with disorders such as childhood hyperactivity, obesity, cholesterol and, of course, diabetes.

Both honey and syrups (maple, agave…) have become popular in recent times as alternatives to sugar, especially in breakfasts and snacks. The reality, however, is that honey and syrups are sources of free sugars that are harmful to the body and should be consumed in moderation. The WHO considers honey, smoothies and syrups sources of free sugars at the same level as sugar.

While butter contains large amounts of saturated fats of animal origin (more than half of its composition) and the fats in margarine are of vegetable origin, in many cases, if we look at the labels, they come from low-quality oils like palm. It is advisable, therefore, to always pay attention to the quality of the fats in margarine, since the industry has improved the processes to free them of trans fatty acids (product of the solidification of the fats in the oils), but we still find products of different quality in the market.

In any case, both butter and margarine should always be consumed occasionally. The fat of choice both at breakfast and snacks and during the rest of the day should be unsaturated, coming from olive oil, avocado or nuts.

butter and margarine

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While butter contains large amounts of saturated fats of animal origin (more than half of its composition), the fats in butter are of vegetable origin, in many cases coming, if you look at the labels, from poor quality oils like palm. It is advisable, therefore, to always pay attention to the quality of the fats in margarine, since the industry has improved the processes to free them of trans fatty acids (product of the solidification of the fats in the oils), but we still find products of different quality in the market.

In any case, both butter and margarine should always be consumed occasionally. The fat of choice both at breakfast and snacks and during the rest of the day should be unsaturated, coming from olive oil, avocado or nuts.


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