Breakfast Cereals: The Hidden Fat Loss Saboteur

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Many of us grew up on it, but do we really know the impact that this breakfast substitute is having on our health and our fat loss goals? Breakfast cereals have become increasingly popular as people struggle for time in the morning. It’s easy right? Just add milk and grab a spoon and you’re good to go. It is the easy solution for a household where both parents are working and just don’t have time to prepare a proper meal for the kids. But what are we conditioning our children and our future generations to be?

As a personal trainer I come across so many people who have cereal every morning and wonder why they’re not losing any body fat or weight. The problem is that there are years and years of conditioning, product placement and advertising behind the false idea that breakfast cereals are somehow healthy for you.

There was a time when families sat down to a proper breakfast complete with solid protein and fat sources to start out the day. Some studies have shown that a breakfast rich in protein and good fats help increase mental acuity and attention. Not only that, protein and fat will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

Of course times have changed. Both parents are working now and mom and dad don’t have the time in the morning so when we’re at the grocer we pick up the quick packaged goods. The boxes tell us high fiber, high calcium, healthy start or something of this nature. What the box doesn’t say on the front is, “high sugar”, “hidden sugar and additives”, etc.

I was one of the lucky kids and although both my parents worked, my grandparents were around and since they were retired they prepared breakfast for my siblings and me every morning. Understandably, not everyone has this convenience; however there are solutions for this dilemma.

The first step in solving this problem is to simply change your shopping habits. Stay away from the cereal aisle. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard it over and over again, but stay away from the center aisles altogether. Shopping the perimeter is where all the fresh produce and meats reside.  All the packaged goods, the things that are most likely to have a negative impact on our fat loss goals reside in the center aisles.

Shopping frequency is also important. I recall that my grandmother would shop for something practically each day. Not everyone has the time for this of course; however vegetables and meats are best when prepared on the day of purchase.  In the long run it will save you money as food will not be forgotten and spoil in the rear of your refrigerator. Consider our ancestors who did not have refrigerators. These people consumed only the freshest of fruits, meats and vegetables. Fresh foods have been shown to be more vitamin and nutrient rich.

Planning breakfast can also help with those who are short on time in the mornings. Decide the day before what you would like to have for breakfast. Prepare as much as you can before the morning and lay out the items that you need. This way the only things you have to do is cook quickly or heat the foods.

Finally, for those of us from the Western world, we should consider consuming things that we don’t normally consider breakfast foods. In many places around the world, food is not defined by the time of day it is consumed. This means that vegetables can be eaten in the morning and so can meat. Throw out the idea that pancakes, eggs, bacon, cereal and toast are what breakfast consists of.

Changing these things may seem difficult but no one said that health and fitness is easy. We live in a time where we prioritize other things over our personal health and the truth of the matter is that we have to work for anything that we want in life. With a little planning we can manage our healthy and active lifestyles. Remember that failing to plan is like planning to fail.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions or your own personal input in the comments section below.

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By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

One Response to Breakfast Cereals: The Hidden Fat Loss Saboteur

  1. Pingback: Whole Grains; Can I Eat them Daily? « Bangkok Personal Trainer

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