If Sugar is the Crack of Food, Cereal is a Gateway Drug

To avoid this being another commentary about sugar addiction, I am going to focus on a particular meal that includes not only sugar, but also its 2 partners in crime; wheat and dairy. They are the 3 most addictive foods on earth and combined they make a lethally delicious and naturally profitable combo that is, the cereal industry. Sugar, dairy, and wheat all activate pathways in the brain that signal pleasure and reward. These are the same pathways that drugs like heroin or cocaine follow.

Cereal doesn’t last a week in my house. I’m not talking about Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms – I can’t even keep the Bran and granola types. I was so ashamed of my cereal addiction that I would leave an empty box on the shelf to hide the fact that I had crushed it within 2 days until I felt it was a reasonable time to have finished it. Finally recognizing my weakness, I stopped buying cereal full stop. Cold turkey is how I do things of this nature.

Because cereal is usually made of wheat, coated in sugar, and bathed in milk, it’s no wonder it had an addictive effect on me! I can’t believe millions of Americans start their day with this narcotic-esq meal that sets the stage for cravings, consumption, or withdrawal systems like headaches, moodiness, and lack of energy. Sugar consumed at breakfast- or anytime- creates an acid state in your body, which suppresses your immune system and feeds the bad bacteria in your intestines causing you to crave even more sugar throughout the day.

I know some of you are thinking ‘well I eat the healthy cereal so this doesn’t apply’ but take a look at those Nutritional Facts, actually account for how much you eat (3/4 cup is a joke serving size), and then evaluate those stats – and don’t forget the average 20g of sugar in your milk. Just because a cereal’s ingredients are of a higher quality doesn’t mean it should still be your #1 breakfast choice.

Wheat, dairy, and sugar can be found in most of our processed foods and all cereals so “staying clean” couldn’t be harder. However, since these are foods and not illegal drugs, my point is to simply expose cereal as the nutritional phony that it is and help people realize it is by no means the healthiest way to start the day.

Fun/Scary Cereal Facts:

  • Breakfast cereals contain more sugar than some donuts
  • Yankee pitcher, Carsten Charles “CC” Sabathia lost 25 lbs. by cutting Cap’n Crunch out of his diet
  • Americans consume 101 lbs. or 160 bowls of cereal per person each year
  • Honey Smacks have the highest sugar content per serving

Better Breakfast Options:

  • Quinoa Flakes! 90 seconds to make, high in protein, gluten-free, and whole grain
  • Eggs – if you are pressed for time, make a veggie frittata Sunday night and divvy out portions for the week
  • Oats – Great source of fiber and whole grain. Try slow cooking a batch in the crock-pot overnight to avoid the instant stuff!
  • Almond butter and banana on sprouted grain toast
  • Fresh fruit smoothie – get adventurous by adding greens like spinach and superfoods too!

And yes, there are cereals out there with little to no sugar, without wheat, that can be eaten with milk substitutes. But let’s be real, they are pretty tasteless and if that’s what America was eating instead, I wouldn’t have a reason to write this post. Make your breakfast fun and tasty while figuring out what YOUR body needs to get going! Check out this Breakfast Experiment to get in tune with what works best for you.

And remember, Yoouu’rree Grreeaatt!! 

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under breakfast, Nourish Tips/Advice.