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The Worst Breakfast Habits for Inflammation, Say Dietitians

It may be a good idea to limit the fancy coffee drinks and amount of processed meat you consume.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Inflammation can be a tricky issue. On the one hand, it is a necessary process that our bodies need to heal from injury, which is known as acute inflammation. On the other, it can lead to serious health issues and illness if it turns chronic, which is the type we will be referring to in this article.

Chronic inflammation can be caused by things like autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle, and according to Harvard Health, it "plays a central role" in diseases like diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer's.

Because of inflammation's connection to weight, diet, and exercise, there are certain foods that we can eat and avoid to help lower our chances of developing chronic inflammation in the long run.

Continue reading to learn about some of the worst breakfast foods and breakfast habits for inflammation, and for more tips on inflammation, make sure to check out Popular Foods For Reducing Inflammation After 50.


Eating refined carbohydrates


When it comes to inflammation, added sugar and refined carbohydrates are some of the leading culprits.

"One of the worst breakfast habits for inflammation is eating refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugar like packaged pastries, donuts, and baked goods," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian on our medical expert board and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility agrees, saying that "sugary and refined pastries like donuts and muffins can be loaded with ingredients that can contribute to inflammation, so it's best to stick to whole grain options without questionable ingredients instead."

RELATED: One Major Side Effect of Eating Too Much Added Sugar, Says New Study


Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages

iced coffee with whipped cream

Sometimes enjoying sugar-sweetened drinks in the morning, like fancy coffee drinks or juices with added sugar, can lead to inflammation or other unwanted health problems.

"Some research suggests that excessive sugar intake may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria that can increase your risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease," says Goodson, "plus, simple sugars can contribute to blood sugar spikes and drops leading to a roller coaster-like blood sugar and energy levels over the course of the morning, and even the whole day."

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Adding too much sugar to your morning coffee

artificial sweetener coffee

Even if you aren't pulling through the Starbucks drive-through for a PSL, your morning cup of coffee may still lead to some unwanted inflammation.

"Coffee can be a healthy addition to a breakfast plate, depending on what is added to your cup of Joe," says Manaker, "and adding spoonfuls of sugar, while tasty, isn't the best choice when trying to manage chronic inflammation."

RELATED: Coffee Habits That Are Aging You Faster, Says Dietitian


Breakfast foods with artificial trans fats

mcdonalds breakfast
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Goodson also mentions that foods made with a lot of trans fats may cause inflammation and may have negative effects on cholesterol and heart health.

"These foods, like fried fast food breakfast, treats, pastries, baked goods made with margarine or vegetable shortenings, and certain non-dairy coffee creamers can be identified by having hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils on the food's ingredient list," says Goodson.

READ MOREThe Worst Fast-Food Breakfasts, According to Dietitians


Eating bacon, sausage, or other processed meats


Manaker warns about regularly eating certain processed breakfast meats, like sausage or bacon. "These foods are linked to the development of chronic inflammation," says Manaker, "and while eating these foods once in a while is likely fine, eating them every day isn't the best habit to get into."

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