How you start your morning matters not only to your overall health, but also to your ability to lose or maintain weight. If your goal is to prevent weight gain, indigestion, inflammation and prioritize your gut health, we’ve got you covered. We consulted doctors, nutritionists, dietitians and other health experts for three common morning mistakes to avoid for healthier metabolism and digestion. Read on for tips, suggestions, and insights from Dr. Daniel Boyer, MD, health expert and writer at the Farr Institute, Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center , and Lisa Richards, licensed nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet.
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1. Skip breakfast
You may have heard time and time again that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and it bears repeating, says Boyer, because it’s true. “Be sure to eat breakfast after waking up,” he points out, because “skipping breakfast can lead to blood sugar spikes and hormonal imbalances that can cause bloating and inflammation.” Making time for a daily breakfast, he notes, instantly promotes healthier, more regular digestion. Being hungry right after waking up and satisfying it is a great sign of a healthy metabolism, says Boyer. Additionally, he suggests “opting for a breakfast rich in whole grains with protein and fiber to help you feel full longer and stave off cravings later in the day.” It will also help prevent weight gain, he adds.
“Low sugar, high fiber” fruit is a great place to start when planning your first meal of the day. “Low-sugar fruits can help prevent blood sugar spikes that can lead to bloating and food cravings later in the day, while high-fiber fruits help promote healthy digestion and regularity (which can also reduce bloating),” continues Boyer. Some examples of these fruits that Boyer lists include “berries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, figs, kiwi fruit, coconuts, and peppers.”
2. Eat sweet pastries
As stated earlier, your breakfast is crucial for your energy level for the rest of the day. Therefore, choosing a sugary pastry, cereal or other treat for your first meal will lead to energy slumps and hunger later, Hunnes warns. This, she points out, can also lead to weight gain, as you’ll feel the need to satisfy your cravings when you’re not full when you start your breakfast. The worst breakfast choice for inflammation and weight gain, according to Hunnes, are sugary pastries made with refined carbohydrates. “The least healthy type of carbs to eat are ultra-processed carbs that are frequently found in packaged foods such as baked goods like Pop-Tarts, energy bars, and baked goods,” says Hunnes.
“The reason these types of carbs are not good at any age, let alone over 40, is because they provide no nutritional benefit, they are often lacking in vitamins and minerals. , antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds,” she continues. It’s terrible for the metabolism, Hunnes insists, because it leads to “spikes in insulin, an increase in IGF-1, an inflammatory marker, and increases the risk of chronic disease and deposition (storage of fat)” calories in the body. If you still want the taste of something sweet in the morning, she recommends adding your favorite “fiber-filled fruit” to your “oatmeal bowl” because “fiber can prevent and reduce inflammation by keeping the GI track moving”. It does this, she says, by “drawing water into the gut and making the waste softer with more fluid, making it easier to pass.”
3. Add heavy creamers/sweeteners to your coffee
Coffee alone, Hunnes says, is great for your metabolism and digestion because drinking it in the morning can “help fight bloating as it encourages peristalsis in the gastrointestinal tract” and promotes consistent, stable, and comfortable digestion. Plus, Boyer adds that a cup of black coffee is also packed with “healthy antioxidants” and its caffeine can provide the much-needed energy you need to start your day. However, warns Richards, adding sugary cream or lots of sweeteners can add extra calories that can stunt your weight loss progress and lead to indigestion and inflammation. “Adding milk or cream to coffee is a practice practiced by most coffee drinkers to enhance the flavor and creamy nature of the often bitter and sour drink,” she acknowledges, noting that “although it is common , adding cream is also a way calories, sugar and fat are sneaking into our diets and it adds up quickly.” Although Richards points out that this does not mean that everyone should drink their coffee black, it may be advantageous to avoid certain coffee creamers.
She advises to “always read nutrition and ingredient labels for fat, calories and added sugars.” Ideally, Richards suggests avoiding any added sugar is best, but 1-2 grams should be your limit. Additionally, Richards tells us that refined sugar, commonly known as table sugar, is a type of sugar that is harmful to your gut and your weight for many reasons. “This type of sugar is sucrose and is highly inflammatory as well as a food source for bad gut bacteria,” she says. Richards continues that “inflammation and an overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria will lead to negative health effects in many areas of the body.” Although it can be found naturally, synthetic or commercially manufactured sugar should be “avoided whenever possible”. For those who need their coffee sweetened, monk fruit can be a great option, she recommends. “Monk fruit extract contains incredible compounds that are 300 to 400 times sweeter than cane sugar,” Richards concludes, and here’s the real draw, it’s “virtually calorie-free.” That means it “won’t affect blood sugar or rot your teeth.” Good to know!
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