Category Archives: Candy and soda for breakfast!

Candy & Soda for Breakfast: That’s just nuts! Many almonds are more like candy than a healthy snack.

Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

I call this idea that unhealthy food makes its way onto our breakfast table Candy & Soda for Breakfast. And it’s not just breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, and snacks frequently include foods that look like a healthy choice but really are candy and soda in disguise. One example is nuts, which can be a healthy snack… or candy in disguise.

Almonds


Eating nuts can be a tasty way to make your diet more healthy. Nuts are beneficial because they are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Nuts also contain omega-3 fats and natural plant sterols which, together, may help lower your blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of heaving a heart attack.

Although the specific nutrients vary among different nuts, all nuts are thought to be healthy. This includes tree nuts such as almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans, which have the most research to support their health benefits. But it also includes peanuts, which are actually legumes (like beans), not true nuts.

Keep in mind that you should focus on eating plain nuts to get the biggest benefits. Many nuts have added flavors in the form of coatings, glazes, and seasonings, which may be high in sugar and salt. Honey roasted peanuts and chocolate covered almonds are good examples of nuts that are essentially candy. These types of nuts should be eaten sparingly and for dessert, not as a snack. Check it out:

Plain almonds contain 160 calories with 14 g fat, 1 g sugar, 3 g fiber, and 6 g protein per 28 g (1 ounce) serving [source: Emerald Nuts Natural Almonds]. The fats are almost all healthy unsaturated fats with no trans fats. No question, plain almonds are a healthy snack or addition to any meal.

Many people consume almonds that are flavored or have sweet coatings. While these contain the beneficial nutrients of plain almonds, they also contain added salt and sugar. For example, honey glazed almonds have 140 calories with 10 g fat, 8 g sugar, 2 g fiber, and 4 g protein per 28 g (1 ounce) serving  [source: Emerald Nuts Honey Glazed Almonds]. That’s a lot of added sugar, which makes sense considering that sugar appears in four forms in the list of ingredients: sugar, tapioca syrup, sugar cane syrup, and dehydrated honey. The glaze is almost pure sugar and almost none of it is actually honey!

If you are curious why the honey glazed almonds have less fat, fiber, and protein compared to the plain almonds, this is why: The glaze makes the almonds heavier so there are fewer almonds per 28 g serving. Since the fat, fiber, and protein are in the almond itself, not the glaze, fewer almonds means less of these nutrients.

The honey glazed almonds are essentially candy-coated nuts. But since they would be right next to plain almonds on the shelf, it is reasonable that someone might think of them as a healthy option to the plain version. They aren’t. But at least they aren’t as bad as candy that contains almonds…or are they?

Chocolate covered almonds are delicious! But they also contain 158 calories with 15 g fat, 12 g sugar, 1 g fiber, and 3 g protein per 28 g (1 ounce) serving  [source: Dove Milk Chocolate  Almonds]. If you look at the ingredients you will see lots of added sugar, which is no surprise considering they are covered in candy!

What may be surprising is that the honey glazed almonds similar to the chocolate coated almonds in terms of added sugar. Another important point is the serving sizes. A 28 g serving of plain almonds contains about 28 nuts, about 1/4 cup or a small handful. There are fewer honey glazed almonds in the same serving size and there are only 9–10 of the chocolate covered almonds in one serving! How many people would stop after 10 almonds?

Based on this, plain almonds are an excellent snack. Even though chocolate covered and honey glazed almonds are essentially candy, they do have almonds inside, which makes them a better choice than many other candies or snacks. But don’t fool yourself, neither are the same as eating plain almonds!


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Candy and soda for breakfast, audio version.

Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

Cereal


I spoke with Melanie Cole on her RadioMD show, Train Your Body, about this topic back in 2015. Go ahead, check it out: Morning Nutrition: Kickstart Your Day in a Healthy Way

Melanie has a new show called Life’s Too Short, in which she shares practical, credible health information. Listen wherever you get podcasts.


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That coffee drink you had this morning? It’s not coffee, it’s a milkshake!

Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

This is also true for breakfast drinks, including coffee drinks. Many popular coffee drinks are more similar to a chocolate milkshake than to actual coffee! Let’s check it out.


Take, for example, the grande (16 oz) Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee drink from Starbucks:

  • 410 calories
  • 15 grams of fat
  • 65 g carbohydrates, including 61 g sugar
  • 5 g protein

Let’s compare that to a small (16 oz.) McCafe Chocolate Milkshake from McDonald’s:

  • 530 calories
  • 15 grams of fat
  • 87 g carbohydrates, including 74 g sugar
  • 12 g protein

Sure, the calories and sugar in the coffee drink aren’t quite as outrageous as the milkshake, but it’s pretty close. The is especially clear when you compare the coffee drink to actual coffee, a grande (16 oz.) Pike Place Roast from Starbucks, which has 5 calories and no fat or sugar.

If you don’t really like coffee and prefer flavored coffee drinks, you might order one with nonfat milk and no whipped cream. Nice try, but it will still have 270 calories and 59 g sugar, even though the fat is reduced to just 1 g. That’s still a lot of sugar!

A better choice might be a grande Starbucks Cappuccino, which has 140 calories, 7 g fat, and 10 g sugar. Get one with nonfat milk and you cut out 60 calories from fat. If you are worried about how much sugar you consume and how many calories you drink—and you probably should be!—this is a much better coffee drink choice than a milkshake!

 

Does this mean you can’t enjoy a delicious coffee drink? Of course not. But don’t try to fool yourself by calling it coffee. Depending on what you order, it may essentially be a milkshake! And I think we can all agree that is not part of a healthy breakfast.

I call this idea that unhealthy food makes its way onto our breakfast table Candy & Soda for Breakfast. And it’s not just breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, and snacks frequently include foods that look like a healthy choice but really are candy and soda in disguise.


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Candy & Soda for Breakfast: A red velvet cupcake Pop-Tart contains more sugar than an actual red velvet cupcake!

Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

Some popular breakfast foods targeted at children include sugar-sweetened cereals, pastries, and bars, many of which look like candy or dessert. Pop Tarts and some granola bars are covered in frosting and favorite cereals often contain marshmallows, chocolate, or are shaped like cookies. No surprise that these foods are as high in calories and sugar as cookies or some candy bars!

Red velvet cupcakes


Kellogg’s Frosted Red Velvet Pop Tarts are a perfect example of a breakfast food that looks and tastes like dessert but is intended to be eaten for breakfast. In fact, these Pop Tarts literally have more sugar than an actual red velvet cupcake! Check it out:

A single Frosted Red Velvet Pop Tart has 190 calories, 36 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 16 g sugar [source: SmartLabel].

By comparison, a single Kimberley’s Two-Bite Red Velvet Cupcakes has 120 calories, 13 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 10 g sugar [source: WalMart]. And this is for a MINI cupcake!

The serving size for Pop Tarts is one pastry, but they come in a package of two, so it is likely that people would eat both. Doing that would mean consuming 380 calories, 72 g carbohydrates, <2 g fiber, and 32 g sugar.

To be fair, the serving size for the cupcakes is three. That’s 360 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, <1 g fiber, and 31 g sugar. You could eat three actual red velvet cupcakes and consume about the same number of calories and amount of sugar as Pop Tarts that look like red velvet cupcakes.

Based on this, Pop Tarts really have no place in a healthy breakfast. You can probably still eat them, though, after a healthy lunch or dinner…as dessert!

I call this idea that unhealthy food makes its way onto our breakfast table Candy & Soda for Breakfast. And it’s not just breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, and snacks frequently include foods that look like a healthy choice but really are candy and soda in disguise.


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Supermarket Prepared Meals: What to Watch Out For – Consumer Reports

You know that many pre-packaged and restaurant meals are unhealthy and that you should cook at home. But what if you don’t have the time or inclination to cook dinner? Many people turn to the ready-to-eat meals and dishes at their local supermarket.

These foods are convenient, tasty, and look like they were prepared in the store using high quality, fresh ingredients. A healthy alternative to cooking at home or eating out, right? According to a recent report by Consumer Reports, maybe not.

This highlights the challenges we face when trying to make smart food choices, something I have written about before.

Source: Supermarket Prepared Meals: What to Watch Out For – Consumer Reports


Nutrition, exercise, and health information can be confusing. 
But it doesn't have to be that way.
What can I help you with?
 drbrianparr@gmail.com | http://twitter.com/drbrianparr

Candy and soda for breakfast, again!

This is a follow-up to a piece I wrote previously about an analysis of what kids (and adults) commonly eat for breakfast. Considering that this is one of the topics I talk about most frequently, it seemed like time for an update It is also my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

donuts


Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.

Some popular breakfast foods targeted at children include sugar-sweetened cereals, pastries, and bars, many of which look like candy or dessert. Pop Tarts and some granola bars are covered in frosting and favorite cereals often contain marshmallows, chocolate, or are shaped like cookies. No surprise that these foods are as high in calories and sugar as cookies or some candy bars!

Unhealthy choices sometimes come disguised as something healthy—juice. Many “fruit” drinks contain less than 5% juice but plenty of added sugar, so they are essentially soda without bubbles. For example, the orange drink Sunny D is a popular substitute for orange juice, but it is far from a nutritional equivalent. The same is true for other drinks, including juice boxes and pouches, that are commonly part of breakfast or snacks.

Even though the sugar and caloric content of these drinks is comparable to real fruit juice, consuming food and beverages that are flavored like fruit but are actually much sweeter may make real fruit less palatable. Children may develop an expectation that oranges or orange juice should taste as sweet as Sunny D and prefer the sugar-sweetened version over the real fruit. The same is true for food, too. A child who is used to breakfast or snack foods that taste like candy or cookies may resist real food when it is offered.

This really isn’t much different for adults. Breakfast foods like donuts and pastries are almost always topped with icing and it would be difficult to distinguish many muffins from cupcakes. For many people, coffee isn’t just coffee anymore, but a drink that contains as much sugar and as many calories as a milkshake, sometimes with whipped cream on top.

One of the biggest offenders for both children and adults is yogurt. Low-fat and fat-free flavored yogurt is almost always sweetened with sugar. This is true for the yogurt tubes that kids love and the Greek yogurt that is widely thought to be healthy. Sure, it contains protein and bacteria that seem to be beneficial, but the added sugar makes it equivalent in terms of calories and sugar to frozen yogurt or ice cream. Some of these yogurts even come with toppings, like bits of chocolate, just like fro-yo!

The good news is that you can make your breakfast healthier without too much effort. While there is much debate about what constitutes a healthy breakfast, there is agreement about what it doesn’t include—lots of added sugar! Look for cereals that are low in added sugars and high in fiber. Include real fruit, fruit juice, and milk (or soy milk) whenever possible. If you have time, eggs are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Yogurt is good, too, but watch out for added sugars in flavored yogurt. Whole grain toast or a bagel with peanut butter makes a good alternative to Pop Tarts or breakfast bars.

As a general rule, steer clear of foods that look like dessert. Marshmallows, chocolate chips, and frosting are best left for after a healthy meal, not a replacement for it.


Nutrition, exercise, and health information can be confusing. 
But it doesn't have to be that way.
What can I help you with?
 drbrianparr@gmail.com | http://twitter.com/drbrianparr

 

 

 

100% natural flavors, 100% fake sugar.

 

 

Made from real ginger.

Ginger ale label

With plenty of fake sugar.