Popular Breakfast Foods That Age You Faster, Say Dietitians
When it comes to slowing down the aging process, food may be your best medicine. According to the CDC, the best benefit of eating healthy as an adult is the potential to live a longer life, and the World Health Organization agrees that a healthy diet can help you live longer by lowering your risk of chronic disease.
If you want to maintain a healthy diet and start your day off right, breakfast is the perfect place to begin. But how can you know which foods are best and which ones should be avoided? In order to find out, we talked with some of our expert dietitians to get their opinions on popular breakfast foods to avoid if we want to live longer.
According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, "a common denominator among many popular breakfast foods, especially ones we eat on the go, is the extremely high sugar and processed carbohydrate content, which is known to lead to poor gut health and increase aging."
Here are a few specific breakfast foods that speed up the aging process to watch out for, and for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Pancakes are certainly a fluffy and delicious breakfast option, but with all of the butter, sugar, and processed flours, they aren't that great for our health.
"The added sugar and fat in pancakes can lead to weight gain," says Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, author at Fit Healthy Momma, "and in addition to that, sugar is pro-inflammatory and promotes an unhealthy microbiome, which is a common recipe for accelerating the aging process."
Bacon and sausage
Bacon and sausage are popular breakfast staples, but many types of processed meat have been linked to accelerated aging.
"These types of meat usually contain a preservative called nitrate," says D'Angelo, "which has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease."
This study also stated that regularly eating processed meats could also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer.
A bowl of cereal with your favorite milk may be one of the quickest and easiest foods to eat for breakfast, but these sugary pantry items may age you faster than you realize.
"Cereals designed and formulated with refined flour, carbohydrates, and sugar are highly inflammatory," says Best, "and unfortunately, the amount of sugar and the processed nature of these cereals contributes to weight gain, chronic low-level inflammation, and poor gut health."
Everyone loves a warm breakfast pastry like a cinnamon roll, muffin, or croissant when you need something fast and on the go. But consuming these on a regular basis can age you faster for a multitude of reasons.
"Breakfast foods with added sugar like pastries, baked goods and other processed options with sugar and icings can contribute to aging you faster because long-term intake of added sugars can lead to weight gain," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and a member of our medical expert board. "Over time, weight gain can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and other serious illnesses."
According to Kimszal, eating too much added sugar in your day "can also contribute to more physical aging in your skin due to the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products)."
Goodson also mentions that you'll age faster when you eat foods on a regular basis that are high in sugar and processed carbs but low in fiber and nutrients. Because of this, "it's important to get a high-fiber carbohydrate and lean protein in your breakfast as much as possible," says Goodson. Like one of these 19 High Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full.
Breakfast foods to eat instead
According to Rachel Fine, RD owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, "incorporating anti-inflammatory foods in your breakfast is important to help alleviate the natural wear-and-tear that occurs in the aging process."
So when you go to choose your breakfast for the morning, instead of reaching for cereal, pancakes, or a croissant, try going for something like eggs and avocado, or oatmeal with flaxseeds on top.
"Flax is a rich source of lignans, a powerful phytochemical with anti-oxidative characteristics," says Fine, "and it also contains a high omega-3 fatty acid content, which is important for heart and brain health."
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