Friday, September 19, 2008

The Breakfast of Chumps

I've really been enjoying the "Eat This, Not That" blog feature at Yahoo, even though it falls under the category of "Men's Health." Let's face it, the inability to judge accurately the calorie and fat content of a restaurant meal is hardly a male-only problem.

And this recent entry was particularly interesting:

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of eating breakfast. Studies show that people who take time for a morning meal consume fewer calories over the course of the day, have stronger cognitive skills, and are 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese. Beyond that, people who skip breakfast are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke, and they’re less likely to exercise.

But just because breakfast is the most important meal of the day doesn’t grant you permission to go into a feeding frenzy. But that’s exactly what many of the country’s most popular breakfast joints are setting you up for, by peddling fatty scrambles, misguided muffins, and pancakes that look like manhole covers.

These foods are loaded with unhealthy fats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates, which catapult your blood sugar, sap your energy levels, and tell your body to store fat. [...]

Worst Pastry
Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll
813 calories
32 g fat (5 g trans fat)
117 g carbs

You wouldn’t start your day with three brownies, would you? As far as your body knows, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you wake up with this cinnamon-swirled disaster area. In fact, because Cinnabon offers no healthy alternatives, you’ll have to invite friends (or enemies?) to share the risky roll, or steer clear of Cinnabon altogether.
I used to work at Cinnabon, years ago. We employees probably ate at least one of these things each shift. Given my height and normal activity level, that thing constitutes about half of my daily calorie allotment. But if I'd ever thought about it, I probably would have assumed a cinnamon roll wasn't any worse than a blueberry muffin, when it's nearly three times worse!

Of course, it was pretty sobering (read the whole article, do!) to find out that a certain golden arches' combo breakfast had 1360 calories, or that a popular restaurant's specialty pancakes topped the "worst breakfast" list at 1543 calories, with enough sugar and fat to feed a small village in the third world for a month. I'm exaggerating. By a week or so.

I know that stay-at-home, homeschooling moms probably aren't eating out as often as the rest of the country, but it's pretty amazing to find out just how bad for you some of the restaurant food out there really is. I'm appreciative that the authors of this feature, David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, are shining some light on a source of caloric and dietary danger that many of us take for granted--especially when we actually do go out to eat.


Bethany Hudson said...

It's kind of wicked that whenever you enter a mall, the Cinnabon stand seems to call to you! You can smell those buns from a mile away.

freddy said...

Fascinating! I've always been a fan of breakfast. Given my normal mental state, I'd probably be comatose without it!
Regarding eating out, I've come to view all restaurant eating in the nature of "dessert," in that it should be an occasional indulgence, not a way of life.

Sabine said...

The "Eat This, Not That" book is very helpful. From that, I had the idea to look up the nutritional info for Sonic when my hubby wanted a chili-cheese coney (yuck!) from there. He would be better off eating a banana split, better yet, a mini banana split. After seeing all the calories, fat grams and sugar content, he choose to skip those snacks altogether :-)

Also, I've had luck get my non-dairy, non-fruit eating husband to try the smoothie suggestions by Davis Zinczenko. Great breakfast ideas there!

Ellyn said...

Just where are all these Cinnabons that are leading people astray? My diet is saved by the fact that my Cinnabon choices are limited to somewhere in one of the terminals at O'Hare or at the end of a grueling six hour drive to Mall of America - at which point I deserve that Cinnabon!