Dietitians Agree: These 4 Breakfast Carbs Should Be Avoided To Prevent Weight Gain

- Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day no matter what your health goals are, but especially if you want to lose or maintain weight. 

Weight gain, as many experts would agree, is largely possible due to an unhealthy diet, and the food that you choose to start your day with can make or break your energy levels and may often also lead to additional snacking later on.

In order to feel satiated and refreshed, it’s best to avoid foods that make you feel sluggish, and we reached out to registered dietitians, nutritionists and other health experts for 4 foods they recommend skipping at breakfast if you want to prevent weight gain.

Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from  Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health and author of Recipe for Survival, Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, and Lindsey DeSoto, RDN, registered dietitian, nutritionist and owner of The Dietitian Momma.

While this type of breakfast pastry is undeniably delicious and pairs well with coffee, Best warns that it often has little to no nutritional value, which can lead to hunger later throughout the day, and more snacking. 

Breakfast pastries, like croissants, she says are "convenient ways to get in a quick source of calories before starting your day." 

Unfortunately, she adds, "convenience doesn't always lead to good health or set you up for a successful day." 

These pastries, she explains, are often made with "refined carbohydrates and oils that can lead to an irritable and inflamed gut."

When this happens, bloating and gas are bound to occur. This is because the "bad gut bacteria will feed off of these carb sources," Best says, and when this happens, they "produce byproducts that lead to and exacerbate bloating," while also risking weight gain. 

"If you must have a quick and convenient breakfast, opt for something that will feed the good gut bacteria, like overnight oats," she advises.


Hunnes also points out the dangers of eating refined carbohydrates first thing in the morning, urging anyone who wants to prevent weight gain to skip donuts and similar pastries in the AM. 

"The least healthy type of carbohydrate to eat over the age of 40 is ultra-processed carbohydrates that are frequently found in packaged foods such as pastries," she explains (including boxed donuts!) The reason these types of carbs are not great at any age, let alone over 40, she stresses, is because they provide "no nutritional benefit, they are often devoid of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds." 

This is terrible for the metabolism, she says, because it "leads to insulin spikes, increases in IGF-1, an inflammatory marker, and increases risk for chronic diseases and deposition (fat storage) of calories in the body."

Instead, she suggests that we are "best off to eat the least processed carbohydrates possible," for breakfast, such as "whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, in their natural form, unprocessed."  

These are great to start your day with, Hunnes notes as they are "not harmful for our metabolism and are anti-inflammatory, high in fiber, and help regulate weight."

Another beloved (and ultimately, unhealthy) breakfast treat would be pancakes, which Richards recommends avoiding to prevent weight gain. 

While she acknowledges that there are "many great ways to make healthy homemade pancakes," those that are available at fast food restaurants are "some of the most unhealthy breakfast options." 

Pancakes at these restaurants, she says, are made with "refined flour and topped with calorie dense and sugar-laden ingredients."
Refined flour is "highly inflammatory," she warns, and "used by the body quickly for a source of energy which results in a rapid glucose and insulin reaction." 

This reaction can then lead to hunger "shortly after eating them," which will ultimately result in overeating throughout the day. 

"Add on the calorie dense toppings and you have a recipe for weight gain and inflammation," Richards says. Instead, she suggests choosing a breakfast that includes whole grain toast, as it can be an "excellent addition to a weight loss focused breakfast." 

The fiber and vitamins in the bread alone, she adds, will help keep you "feeling full, which can prevent overeating throughout the morning on calorie dense foods."


Although not all cereal is bad, most, DeSoto says, are "filled with and made from refined carbs, which can lead to accumulation of visceral fat." 

Some of the most common sugary cereal options also "lack fiber and protein," she adds, deeming them to be "two essential nutrients that are proven to help shed belly fat." 

Many people opt for cereal, she notes, because it is "fairly low in calories," but unclear portion sizes can make cereal a misleading choice for someone trying to lose weight. 

“Many people opt for cereal because it is fairly low in calories, but If you aren’t measuring portion sizes one service can easily turn into two,” she stresses.

If you are a cereal lover and can't imagine your morning without it, DeSoto advises to "be sure to opt for a brand with whole grains and fiber and pair with a protein source." 

She also recommends "switching up your morning routine" if you are used to eating sugary breakfast foods, and trying tried-and-true healthier options, like "eating two boiled eggs each morning" to see a "significant reduction in hunger and your waistline." Good to know!
Author: Marissa Matozzo


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