Breakfasts that have more sugar than doughnuts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that sugar has been demonised in recent years, with more and more people “quitting sugar”.

To quit sugar or not?

As a dietitian, I have two trains of thought about this concept. For one, I like the idea of cutting down on discretionary choices like soft drinks, cakes and lollies – as a society, we consume way too much of these discretionary items.

But on the other hand, completely eliminating sugar isn’t actually necessary. Those discretionary choices can bring a lot of enjoyment to our lives (seriously, can you imagine a world without birthday cake?!). They can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet – the trick is to reduce your intake and save treat foods for special occasions.

The difference between added and natural sugar

Now we have that concept out of the way, it’s important to explain the difference between natural and added sugar.

To get you up to speed, natural sugar is the sugar found in fruit and dairy (and FYI you don’t need to be concerned about it).

The added variety is the one to watch. It’s the white powder that’s added by the bucket load to foods like cake, ice cream, biscuits and doughnuts – which brings me to the point of this story.

Dessert for breakfast?

Breakfast is the first opportunity in the day to nourish your body, and there are a wide variety of options to choose from. Some are very nutritious, but others are unfortunately more like a dessert in disguise.

I’m sure you’ll appreciate the sky-rocketing added sugar content of those extravagant pancakes and waffles you’ve seen lately in hipster cafes.

But what about packaged products that might be sitting in your pantry? These are often the products where added sugar is teeming. So, to give you some perspective, here’s a few breakfast cereals with a similar amount of sugar per serve as a Krispy Kreme doughnut (FYI, there’s 11.8g in an Original Glazed one).

  • Kellogg’s Coco Pops – 11g sugar per 30g serve
  • Kellogg’s Frosties – 12.4g sugar per 30g serve
  • Kellogg’s Fruit Loops – 11.4g sugar per 30g serve
  • Coles Cocoa Puffs – 10.4g sugar per 30g serve

Now, I don’t want to turn you off breakfast cereal. If you really like these sugary varieties, think of them as a treat food to enjoy occasionally and in moderation, and pick a more nutritious choice for your daily go-to. My top tips in terms of cereal are to opt for a high fibre, low sugar variety made with whole grains. Some other healthy choices I often recommend for breakfast are whole grain toast topped with poached eggs or baked beans, porridge or fruit and yoghurt.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.

For more like this, these are 3 dietitian-approved meals that help relieve bloating. Plus, these are the worst foods to eat at night, no matter how hungry you are.

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