Top | Cynthia's High Five
(article, Cynthia Lair)
Occasionally when I’m giving public lectures, I get asked some version of this question: “I drink soy milk. That's better, isn’t it?” I ignore the fact that this question isn't really a question, but a call for absolution. Instead, I always respond, “Why are you choosing soy milk?” “It’s better, isn’t it?” they repeat. “Why do you think you need milk?” I ask. [%image reference-image float=right width=400 caption="The real breakfast of champions."] Most of the time, my questioners blurt out, "Well, what else would we put on our cereal?" Cue the obvious next question from me: “Why are you eating dry cereal?” More than 30 million Americans skip breakfast every day; they say they can't be bothered, or they just aren't hungry. Of those who do eat breakfast, the most common choice, of course, is cold cereal with milk — eaten by nearly a third of all adult breakfast eaters. I'm going to set aside the whole soy-milk thing for now and just tackle sugared kibble. Here are five reasons not to eat the stuff. h4. 1. You don't need more sugar. Isolated fructose (meaning any type of sugar that is not, like fruit, in its whole form) has properties that make you want more. Recent research shows that fructose/sugar behaves quite a bit like cocaine in the brain: consuming a little makes you want more, and you’ll need even more to get the same high next time. Americans consume 140 pounds of sugar (in various forms) per person each year. And that's not just from dessert; American teens, for example, get about a fifth of their daily calories from sugar. (That's far in excess of what the USDA and the American Heart Association would like them to eat.) As Dr. Robert Lustig has repeatedly pointed out in the media, research shows connections between excess dietary sugar and the obesity pandemic, the diabetes crisis, and the continually rising rate of heart disease. So cut back on your sugar intake by skipping the sugared cereal. h4. 2. Dry cereal is dead. Here’s how most sweetened dry cereals are made — in a machine called, unappetizingly, an extruder. Grain is crushed, then mixed with water. The resulting slurry is mixed with flavoring agents, vitamins, minerals, sweeteners, salt, and more water in a large rotating pressure cooker. The slurry passes through a drying oven, resulting in a soft, solid mass which can be shaped as needed. Tempered grains are flattened between large metal rollers under tons of pressure. The resulting flakes are conveyed to ovens, where they are tossed in a blast of very hot air to remove remaining moisture and to toast them to a desirable color and flavor. After shaping, the cereal may be coated with vitamins, minerals, sweeteners, flavors such as fruit juices, food colors, or preservatives. Frosting is applied by spraying a thick, hot syrup of sugar on the cereal in a rotating drum. Have you ever seen a box of Rice Krispies go bad? Me neither. We eat fresh food that is alive to take that vitality into our own being. Be wary of food that won’t spoil. h4. 3. Think clearer, behave better. Several national studies consistently confirm that breakfast helps kids concentrate, think, behave, and learn. Might work for adults too, what d’ya think? A better breakfast: Improves children’s classroom performance, including better test scores and grades Increases children’s ability to focus and concentrate on school work Decreases behavior problems, tardiness, and visits to the school nurse * Increases attendance rates. h4. 4. Dry cereal is no "breakfast of champions." Breakfast sets your metabolic pace for the day. Starting the day with a nice blend of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat will keep you from playing catch-up the rest of the day. Folks who start the day with refined sweetened cereal, on the other hand, generally have an energy crash mid-morning and start looking for caffeine and snacks to keep them going. And so on. All day. h4. 5. You want to feel like a king, not a pauper. Remember the old saying? “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” This eating pattern gives you stellar energy all day, and helps you maintain a reasonable weight. Here’s my breakfast, and I swear it does make me feel like a king. Well, maybe a duchess. Definitely a bebopper. [[html. <embed src="http://www.cookusinterruptus.com/mediaplayer.swf" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="290" flashvars="file=http://www.cookusinterruptus.com/videos/Be+Bop+Breakfast.flv&image=http://www.cookusinterruptus.com/videos/Be-Bop-Breakfast.jpg" wmode="transparent" /> ]] A printable recipe can be found on the Cookus website.