Fact or Myth: Are Low Fat Breakfast Foods a Healthy Option?

This is MYTH.

PrintThe breakfast bar, cereal, or bagel that comes packaged with the labels “low fat, “reduced fat,” or “zero fat” may look tempting, but what these labels really mean are “Beware! Extra high in sugar!”

Fat tastes good, is satiating, and doesn’t cause you to get fat as recent research has shown. It’s not fat, but carbs—which turn into sugar and eventually get stored as fat in your fat cells—that contribute the most to weight gain. Even though the fat myth has been busted, unsuspecting consumers are still getting lured in by low-fat claims. But without the fat, many of these foods taste not just bland, but bad, and so manufacturers disguise the unappealing taste with loads of sugar, flour, thickeners, salt, and worse yet artificial sweeteners. These low fat breakfast foods are, as a result, high in sugar and carbohydrates that get stored as fat on your body far faster than the fat from a healthy, higher in fat breakfast would.

Good Fat, Not Fat Free

Fat is not bad…it’s healthy, and fills you up fast. People tend to eat more of the low-fat breakfast foods because they aren’t as satiating. These foods also spike blood sugar levels, which lead to energy crashes and more sugar/carb cravings all day long. Breakfast sets the tone for your metabolism throughout the day, and when you eat a low fat breakfast food, you’ve already set it for sugar yearnings all day long. Give into these cravings and you’re greatly increasing your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Good fats, such as omega-3 essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds, and fish, and monounsaturated fats from oils such as olive oil should be part of a healthy diet…and breakfast. Instead of eating a bowl of low-fat cereal, chow down on an omelet made with eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Better yet, fill the omelet with healthy greens like spinach for antioxidant protection and a healthy dose of iron. Don’t be afraid of the fat, but do avoid the fat-free labels!