Breakfast: It’s the most important meal of the day. You’ve heard that once or twice before, but do you know why it’s true? Because if you eat the wrong one, you’re not just ruining your morning. You’re potentially ruining your life.
A healthy breakfast is a balance of lean proteins, filling fibers, and healthy fats, like those found in Zero Belly Breakfasts. We’re talking about low-sugar, whole-grain meals made with ingredients you can pronounce.
Yet many of us scarf down quick fixes, fatty, greasy meals that can lead to heart disease, weight gain or worse. Read on to find out which are the Worst Breakfast Foods on the Planet, and discover the very best in Zero Belly Breakfasts. Test panelists lost up to 16 pounds in 14 days!
Too often than not these sugary cereals resemble eating a bowl of candy for breakfast. Cereals that fall into this category are made with flour, oil, and sugar — the same ingredients we use to make baked goods. We dug in and found the top 3 worst sugary bowls of cereal.
Per 1 cup: 160 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 215 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (1 g fiber, 13 g sugars), 2 g protein
If the alarmingly high fat content and low fiber count aren’t enough to explain why we don’t approve of this cereal, try this: Oxford researchers rated this breakfast choice the least healthy cereal in the supermarket.
Per 1 cup: 133 calories, 0.7 g fat (0 g saturated), 53 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugars), 3 g protein
Remember how sweet the milk would taste after consuming this cereal? That’s because over 50 percent of this breakfast option is made up of pure sugar! And next to spiking your sweet tooth, you’re consuming the worst type of fat — hydrogenated oils.
Per 1 cup: 110 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 2 g protein
It’s lower in sugar than it used to be, but Apple Jacks still makes their cereal with trans-fat-containing partially hydrogenated oils.
Frozen Waffles, Pancakes & French Toast Sticks
These classic morning starters are destined to put you in diet debt. The common breakfast choice can packed with some of the worst carbs in America like, the simple carbs — making them too easy to digest and not very promising when it comes to keeping you full and focused. And while some packages claim to offer whole grains and fiber, it’s important to flip the box over and look for high values of fiber and whole grain ingredients; many packages don’t offer the ideal servings. With healthier alternatives made with flax seeds and real whole grain ingredients, we’re curious as to why these nutrient-lacking waffles are still so popular. Next time, do yourself a favor and skip your purchase of these at the grocery store.
Kellogg’s Eggo Blueberry Waffles
Per 2 waffles, 70 g: 180 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein
Really want some fruit with your breakfast? These are not the way to go. With barely any fiber, and blueberries falling below #10 on this product’s list of ingredients, you can leggo this Eggo.
Kellogg’s Eggo Nutrigrain Whole Wheat Waffles
Per 2 waffles, 70 g: 170 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 380 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 4 g protein
If you’re going for a fiber-rich breakfast, this is not the way to do it. In fact, waffles may never be. Smith says in order to make a great breakfast “you always want to combine protein or fat with minimally processed carbohydrates that are rich in fiber. For example, scrambled eggs with fruit or toast.”
Aunt Jemima Frozen Homestyle Waffles
Per 2 waffles, 70 g: 120 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 4 g protein
Lacking fiber is one thing, but this frozen breakfast takes up nearly 20 percent of your day’s worth of sodium. And from something so sweet? No thank you.
Aunt Jemima Frozen Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
Per 4 sticks: 280 calories, 9 g fat, (2 g saturated fat), 310 mg sodium, 45 carbs (2 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 5 g protein
French toast may be a nostalgic treat. But this breakfast rings in with 14 grams of sugar, and that’s before the addition of syrup, butter, and all the other good stuff we add to our hot cakes!
Kellogg’s Eggo Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Per 3 pancakes: 270 calories, 9 g fat, (2 g saturated fat), 490 mg sodium, 43 carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 6 g protein
Yes, these pancakes do have some protein to offer. But, 1 gram of fiber and 12 grams of sugar just don’t do it for us. Not too mention, these pancakes are missing a serious case of whole grains!
We totally get that nothing compares to a nice glass of OJ in the morning, but it’s time to move on. OJ and many other fruit juices are loaded with sugar and relatively low in all other aspects of nutrition — especially when they’re mass produced and highly processed. If you have to sip some sweetness go for a freshly squeezed juice, or a cold-pressed one. That way you’re sure no nutrient value is stripped away during the heating process. Not into juice anyway? Then check out these 22 Best Teas for Weight Loss!
Tropicana Probiotics Pineapple Mango
Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (0 g fiber, 29 g sugar), < 1 g protein
Probiotic juices are becoming more and more popular each day. Wondering what the benefits may be? Unfortunately, research finds that products rich in sugar are linked to adding bad bacteria to your gut. That’s because sugar is the primary source for fueling fungi that destroy powerful good probiotics. So what does that mean? Sugary drinks with probiotics don’t do the trick when it comes to adding healthy bacteria into your system. Next time try some kombucha or Greek yogurt.
Simply Orange High Pulp
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 2 g protein
Many consumers purchase high pulp juice because they believe it means more fiber. But that is not the case — this drink is loaded with sugar, and that’s about it.
Ocean Spray 100% Juice No Sugar Added Cranberry
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sure at first, “no sugar added” looks great, but once you take a deeper look — ingredients become disappointing. Ocean Spray uses a natural fruit sugar, fructose. The biggest problem with fructose is that our bodies convert this sugar into fat and inflammatory compounds.
We love yogurt, but not the artificially-flavored kinds. No, these flavored yogurts are filled with added sugars, unnecessary calories, and even harmful ingredients. Next time you’re taking a stroll down the dairy aisle go for a yogurt packed with health halo benefits like probiotics and protein. Try one of these yogurts that help you loose weight and feel better.
Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Cherry
Per 1 container, 5.3 oz: 130 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 25 carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 5 g protein
Eating this yogurt for your breakfast is like eating a candy bar. Filled with different varieties of sugars and reduced-fat milk, nutritiously beneficial ingredients are curiously missing from the menu.
Yoplait Whips Peaches N’ Cream
Per 1 container: 140 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 25 carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 5 g protein
Most would think that by whipping more air is incorporated, hence less room for calories and all the other unwanted bad guy ingredients. Unfortunately, this rendition of a “healthier” yogurt is made with mono and diglycerides. These additives are more often associated with artery clogging trans-fats.
Yoplait Greek 100
Per 1 container: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 15 g protein
You may have heard that Greek yogurt was good for you, but that’s not always the case. Exhibit A: Yoplait’s Greek 100. Sure, it has 15 grams of protein, but you’ll also be consuming a slew of bad-for-you artificial sweeteners and fructose: the sugar experts directly associate with fatty liver disease.
Smoothies and Shakes
These easy grab-and-go breakfasts are a total bust when compared to smoothies you can make at home. Most store-bought renditions are high in calories, high in sugar, and are missing many of the vitamins you would get from your homemade drinks. And unlike the smoothies made out of ingredients you grab out of
Naked Pure Fruit Pomegranate Blueberry
Per 1, 15.2 fl. oz bottle: 290 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 68 g carbs (0 g fiber, 61 g sugar), 2 g protein
We love smoothies that are flat-belly-friendly. Sadly, this drink crafted by naked just doesn’t make the cut. With a whopping 61 grams of sugar and a slacking 2 grams of protein — you’d be better off whizzing some yogurt and berries in your blender at home.
Dannon Danactive Strawberry & Blueberry
Per 1 bottle: 70 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 3 g protein
Much to our disappointment, this “Strawberry & Blueberry” drink doesn’t have any fruit in it at all. In fact, the only fruit ingredient is used for coloring.
Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness
*Per 8 fl oz: 120 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (8 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 1 g protein
Just like its competitors; this juice is loaded with tons of sugar. And while 29 grams may not look too bad at first glance, the smallest bottles hold two servings, so double up those nutrition facts before you make a judgment call!
The only good thing toaster pastries have going for them is their ability to bring back old memories. But that is exactly where they should stay. These sweet options leave your body with little no energy due to their insufficient totals of protein and fiber and their overkill counts of sugar. You didn’t think that toaster pastries were that bad? That’s because most are listed as 1 pastry per serving. The loophole is that they are often packaged with two in a pack. So while you’re eating the two in the plastic wrapper, you think you’re consuming the nutrition numbers from just one. That’s why its always important to understand nutrition labels.
Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Strawberry
Per 1 pastry with icing: 180 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 3 g protein
This dish may have done the trick for you as a kid back in the day, but now your body needs way more.
Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts
Per 1 Pop-Tart Pastry: 210 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 1700 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein
If you’re really looking to throw away your calories, frosted brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts are definitely the way to do it. And while you’re reading the nutrition label make sure you double all the numbers because two come in each individual package.
Like yogurt, oatmeal can be a great breakfast option. In fact here at Eat This, Not That! we’ve discovered 15 Ways to Lose Weight With Oatmeal. But none of those recipes call for premixed packets. That’s because of they offer less fiber and more sugar. You’ll be surprised; Even the classic unflavored oat pack made it onto our list of worst oatmeal breakfasts.
Quaker Original Instant Oatmeal
Per packet, 28 g: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein
You’d think that unflavored instant oats would be your typical, award-winning, traditional oats. Think again, Quaker’s Instant Oats are made with some of our least favorite ingredients: guar gum (which adds texture and thickness to make up for its lack of fiber) and caramel color (an unnecessary potentially-carcinogen-containing agent).
Quaker High Fiber Instant Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar
Per container, 45 g: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (10 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein
Filled with calorie-confusing artificial sweeteners, these packages use a manmade added fiber called maltodextrin. This sneaky additive is digested quickly (as opposed to the real stuff) and may actually spike your blood sugar! Not to mention these packets dish you a whopping 7 grams of sugar.
Quaker Weight Control Instant Oatmeal Banana Bread
Per packet, 45 g: 160 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 7 g protein
Don’t let words like “weight control” lure you into thinking this option is an A+ breakfast for weight loss. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This oatmeal is packed with weight-gain liked ingredients such as whey protein isolate, artificial flavor, caramel color and artificial sugars acesulfame potassium and sucralose.
Sugar coated cereals were destined to be on this list. But did you ever wonder how beneficial “healthy cereals” are? You’d think that companies would have caught on and created cereals that were low in sugar and high in nutrients, but that’s not really what happened. Instead, brands learned how to market and began printing seductive phrases on their cereal renditions like “antioxidants” and “whole grains.” Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t regulate these marketing terms that often upgrade their appeal to consumers. That’s why it’s so important to turn boxes over and take a look at nutrition labels. And while we’re at it, take a peak at which products fooled you.
Kellogg’s Smart Start Original Antioxidants Cereal
Per 1 cup: 190 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 4 g protein
Polar opposite to its name, there isn’t anything so smart about this high-sugar, low-fiber cereal.
Quaker Life Cinnamon Multigrain Cereal
Per ¾ cup: 120 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 3 g protein
With the word “Multigrain” in its title, consumers believe they’re making a healthy choice choosing this brand of cereal. But once you flip the box over to view its ingredients, you’ll find a medley of sugars, flours, and artificial coloring.
Special K Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch Protein Cereal
Per ¾ cup: 110 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 7 g protein
We always advocate for protein in every meal. But that is not the case when it comes to this cereal, where the majority of the protein most likely comes from genetically modified soy isolate. And while each bite may be deliciously sweet, stand back! This treat is sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) an artificial sweetener that you’re body is unable to break down.
Breakfast Breads & Biscuits
We hate to ruin your brunch order — but it’s time to break up with this breakfast category. Bagels, breads, and biscuits in their purest form are gluten and sugar. They lack in beneficial ingredients. Wondering how bad these breakfast breads really are? Most bagels share the same nutritional values as a soda when it comes to carbs and sugar. And we know you’d never have a soda for breakfast!
Thomas’ Plain Mini Bagels
Per 1 bagel, 43 g: 120 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates (< 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 4 g protein
My high school health teacher once said: Eat a bagel, be a bagel. While that’s quite a stretch, these rounds simply have nothing going for them. No flavor, nutrition, or whole grains.
Pepperidge Farm Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swirl
Per 1 slice: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein
This bread comes with a very long list of ingredients — 20 of them, in fact. And a full 25 percent of that list is made up of different types of sugar. There’s nothing sweet about that.
Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Original Biscuits
Per 1 biscuit: 170 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 3 g protein
These bad boys are quite deceiving. The advertised 0 grams of trans fat on the label may give this bread a leg up compared to its competitors, but turns out that claim may not be true. A discovered hidden ingredient is hydrogenated soybean oil, a secret agent for these unwanted dangerous fats. Just one of these biscuits provides you with a full 13 percent of your daily fat intake.
Pillsbury Grands Original Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with Icing
Per 1 roll with frosting: 360 calories, 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 530 sodium, 47 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 4 g protein
Time to give these classic rolls a rest. With enormous quantities of fat, sugar, and sodium we can’t find anything to like about this treat. More similar to a dessert, we wouldn’t serve these rolls at any time of day.
Bars for breakfast can steer your day the wrong direction. These grab-and-go options claim to be great sources of protein and fiber. Many times they are loaded with chemicals and hidden forms of sugar. You’d be shocked to see how many ingredients can be shoved into these tiny meal supplements. When you’re picking out breakfast bars check the ingredients list for things you can pronounce, with small amounts of sugar, and higher amounts of protein and fiber.
Honey Nut Cheerio Milk N Cereal Bar
Per 1 bar: 160 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 3 g protein
Milk and cereal in a bar — what a creative idea. If only this one worked. Choosing this bar as your breakfast is as nutritionally beneficial as eating two Rice Krispie Treats when comparing fiber, sugar, and fat.
Per 1 bar: 230 calories, 8 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 4 g protein
With this bar, you’re closer to eating cookies than to eating a nutritious breakfast. Next time you’re rushing out the door slap some nut butter on a piece of sprouted grain toast and grab a banana.
Nature Valley Crunchy Oats ‘n Honey
Per 1 packet (2 bars), 42 g: 190 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 11 g sugars), 3 g protein
Drenched in sugar, this bar can put you in major diet debt. Not to mention it’s loaded with fat — and not the good kind. Next time you need a bar on the go try something with better ingredients like Kind bars with whole nuts.
A frozen breakfast can make starting your day a lot easier, but it can also put a real damper on your weight loss goals. Many times, these frozen entrees are drenched in serious amounts of salt and additives. They are also often filled with corn syrup solids, processed cheeses, and high fructose corn syrup. Nowadays there are plenty of options that serve you a frozen breakfast we certainly approve of. Check out the which frozen breakfasts are worth your purchase.
Kellogg’s Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich Sausage Egg & Cheese
Per 1 sandwich, 116 g: 240 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 820 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 14 g protein
The ingredients list reads like a novel. You’re better off making this sandwich on your own and placing it on your favorite whole grain pieces of bread.
Hot Pockets Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Per 1 sandwich, 127 g: 320 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 410 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 10 g protein
With these artificial food-stuffed pockets, you’re about to consume nearly 140 simple carbohydrates. Ouch! Loaded with sodium packed sausage, this breakfast sandwich butchers the best way to start your day.
Jimmy Dean Original Pancakes & Sausage On A Stick
Per 1 Stick, 71 g: 230 calories, 12 g fat (3.5g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 6 g protein
Though the numbers on the nutrition facts may not look too bad, a simple glance at the ingredients puts this breakfast entree in jeopardy. These sausage and pancake sticks are filled with potential carcinogens and fattening ingredients. Unlike a whole grain pancake and a side of breakfast protein, these sticks lack the nutrients that will keep your body full and satisfied until it’s time for your next meal.
Breakfast Meats N Cheeses
These sides and add-ons are some of the easiest ways to ruin a perfectly healthy and well-balanced meal. They’re filled with frightening additives, enormous amounts of salt, and extremely alarming supplies of cholesterol. If you’re trying to get that flat belly, cutting out these saturated-fat filled products will definitely help.
Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon
Per 2 slices, 30 g: 70 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 0 carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein
People have the impression that turkey bacon is better than pork when it comes to watching what you eat. But with Oscar Mayer, you’re better off going for pork — this option has more sodium and nearly three times the number of ingredients.
Kraft Singles Deli Deluxe Sharp Cheddar
Per 1 slice: 70 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein
This slice of cheese gets 75% of its calories from fat! Which means it gives you nothing but wasted calories.
Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Maple Pork Sausage Links
Per 3 cooked links, 68 g: 280 calories, 26 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 710 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 9 g protein
Jimmy Dean managed to pack more than 40% of your day’s worth of saturated fat, and 30% of your day’s salt in just 3 tiny links. There are far better breakfast meats available.
Who would’ve thought that a little squeeze of jam or a little smear of ketchup could damage the value of your meal. When it comes to dieting, many condiments aren’t very flat-belly-friendly.
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
(Per 1 Tbsp, 17 g) 20 calories: 0 g fat, 160 mg sodium, 4 g sugars
When it comes to ketchup, Heinz Classic is not the way to go. It’s definitely worth the extra dollars to buying organic ketchup instead. Not only is the typical ketchup higher in calories and chemicals but, research shows that organically-grown tomatoes produce 50% more cancer-fighting lycopene. And after our blind ketchup taste test, we realized it tastes better too!
Smuckers Concord Grape Jelly
Per 1 Tbsp, 20 g: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 13 carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 0 g protein
Though the sweetness of jelly like this may be delicious with your peanut butter, spreads like these are really just pieces of fruit covered in sugar and juice shoved into a jar with preservatives. Just one tablespoon carries 12 grams of sugar. (And let’s be honest, who really uses just one?)
Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Syrup
Per ¼ Cup: 210 calories, 0 g fat, 120 mg sodium, 52 carbs (0 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 0 g protein
This pancake syrup is far from natural grade A Maple Syrup. It’s made up of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and carcinogenic caramel coloring. And due to the dull flavor of this chemically processed condiment, more calories are added on top of your breakfast to ensure sweetness in every bite.
Coffee on its own is loaded with benefits. Did you know Americans get more antioxidants from this energy pumping drink than any other food source? There are so many more reasons to enjoy your cup of joe, but, only indulge if you can keep it in its best state. Sure a little milk and sugar won’t hurt you, but everything else you may be putting in your coffee might!
Starbucks Bottled Vanilla Frappuccino
Per 1 Bottle, 12.7 fl oz: 290 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 53 carbs (0 g fiber, 46 g sugar), 9 g protein
We get that sometimes your kick of coffee is needed to start your day, but 46 grams of sugar do not need to be included.
Per one tablespoon: 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein
Coffee and milk are the dynamic duo. Not coffee and chemical filled creamer. This choice is bad news, filled with soybean oil and corn syrup. And to the blind eye nutrition facts like these may seem okay, but one serving is a tablespoon. An average unmeasured pour is equal to four times that amount. That means you’re really getting 140 calories, 6 grams of fat and 20 grams of sugar!
These anti-calorie, anti-sugar supplements cause our blood sugar to spike and crash, which ironically make us crave more sugary foods. And after consistent consumption our bodies have to build up an insulin resistances which causes us to store sugars as fat instead!