Is your breakfast making you fat?

Sorry — this is not on our healthy breakfasts list!
Credit: Metro file

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day — so you better do it right. According to Ohio-based Dr. Rob Kominiarek, the self-dubbed America’s Fitness Doctor, if you don’t choose wisely, you could be packing on the pounds before you know noon rolls around.

“The healthy breakfast is made of foods that don’t raise your blood sugar,” says Dr. Kominiarek. “Foods that raise blood sugar then raise insulin, and insulin is the fat-storage hormone. It tells the body to store fat. Foods that keep blood sugar stable are foods that enable us to use the available blood sugars and even stored fat.”

To maintain stable blood sugars, choose low-glycemic promoting foods, like fresh vegetables (yes, even for breakfast) and fruits. And opt for whole grains, as unprocessed as possible. Processed food is more easily broken down in the body, releasing sugars more quickly into the blood stream. Rolled oats, for instance, are more quickly digested into sugars than steel cut oats, or whole oat groats (grain).

Dr. Kominiarek says it doesn’t matter what time you eat breakfast, as long as you “feel good throughout the day” and “follow up with healthy meals through the day.”

Test your knowledge

Dr. Rob uses this quiz to test people on low-glycemic promoting breakfast awareness.

Which breakfast promotes blood sugar spikes and possible weight gain?
A. Scrambled eggs with diced peppers, on a bed of arugula with 10-grain bread, sliced avocado and one cup of berries.
B. Steel cut oats with added flax, walnuts, and a cup of berries.
C. Rolled oats with a cup of berries and a glass of orange juice.

“The answer is C,” says Dr. Kominiarek. “In a Harvard Medical study, people who ate C ate 80 percent more food later in the day than Breakfast A. Breakfast B led to eating 51 percent more food later in the day than A. Breakfast C was the most unhealthiest, because of high glycemic foods like juice and processed oats, which raise blood sugar.”


Editor’s note: Not everyone agrees on what you should consume at breakfast. After this article ran, we received the following from Gail C. Rampersaud, MS, RDN, LDN, associate in research nutrition at the University of Florida.
On behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus, I am writing in response to Linda Clarke’s recent article on entitled, “Is your breakfast making you fat?” which included commentary from Dr. Rob Kominiarek on “healthy” breakfast choices, specifically referencing orange juice. I wanted to clarify some information about orange juice included in the article as it is important your readers have the full picture of the benefits this beverage can provide.

Few Americans consume the recommended amounts of fruit each day and leading health organizations agree consuming 100 percent orange juice supplies a substantial amount of nutrients and can help Americans meet those daily fruit recommendations as a complement to whole fruit. That is why 100 percent fruit juice is recognized by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA MyPlate as a nutrient-rich beverage that can contribute to fruit intake and be part of a healthful diet. In fact, research suggests adults and children who consume 100 percent orange juice tend to have better overall diet quality and nutrient adequacy as compared to those who don’t consume orange juice. [1,2]

It is also important to note that 100 percent orange juice is a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients needed for good health. An 8-ounce serving of 100 percent orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin, which are carried over from the fruit to the juice. One hundred percent orange juice also supplies a variety of other vitamins and minerals in an 8-ounce serving, including vitamin B6 (7% of the Daily Value), magnesium (7% of the Daily Value), and vitamin A (4% of the Daily Value), as well as the flavonoid hesperidin, a polyphenolic compound found in oranges that may have beneficial effects on human health (orange juice is the only fruit juice or commonly consumed food that contains a significant amount of hesperidin).

In addition, 100 percent orange juice has no added sugar; it contains only natural sugars present in the juice when squeezed from the orange. Emerging research suggests that the consumption of 100 percent orange juice with its intrinsic sugars does not result in detrimental health effects sometimes associated with the intakes of excess or nutritionally unbalanced added sugars, such as body weight or composition changes, insulin resistance or development of characteristics of metabolic syndrome. And as with all foods and beverages that provide calories, 100 percent fruit juices should be consumed in appropriate amounts that fit with an individual’s overall diet and lifestyle.

At a time when most people are struggling to eat a healthy diet, it is more important than ever to know how to choose foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients, such as 100 percent orange juice. As a trusted source of health information, you might be interested in visiting to review the OJ Nutrition and Health Toolkit for the latest research and facts about the nutrition benefits of 100 percent orange juice.

I would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Gail C. Rampersaud, MS, RDN, LDN
Associate in Nutrition Research and Education
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)
Food Science and Human Nutrition Department

1. O’Neil CE, et al. One hundred percent orange juice consumption is associated with better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, and no increased risk for overweight/obesity in children. Nutrition Research. 2011;31(9):673–682.
2. O’Neil CE, et al. 100% Orange juice consumption is associated with better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, decreased risk for obesity, and improved biomarkers of health in adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11:107 (12 December 2012).


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