A Man's Breakfast

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Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001

A Man's Breakfast

Men's Health
Physical Fitness
A Man's Breakfast
A Man's Breakfast
To start your day right, you need a new breakfast model, one that fits your busy lifestyle and provides the energy you need to sustain that life.
InteliHealth Medical Content

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

To start your day right, you need a new breakfast model, one that fits your busy lifestyle and provides the energy you need to sustain that life.

The bacon and eggs with butter-smothered white toast that you remember from childhood is clearly not a good start by today’s nutrition standards. And while the doughnut and coffee you grab on the way to work may have fewer calories and less fat than the artery clogging breakfasts of old, nutritionally it's of little value.

To start your day right, you need a new breakfast model, one that fits your busy lifestyle and provides the energy you need to sustain that life.

Fiber first
Breakfast is the best time to get the whole grains and fiber your body needs. Dietary fiber comes in two varieties. Both are good for you:

  • Insoluble fiber draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier, softer and easier to pass. People who eat lots of fiber enjoy a reduced risk of constipation, hemorrhoids and hernias. On the other hand, a diet low in fiber is associated with higher rates of intestinal polyps and colon cancers.
  • Soluble fiber keeps your blood sugar from rising too fast after a meal. It also helps reduce blood levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. 

Fiber also protects the heart and is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and stroke.

Here are some great breakfast options and their fiber content:

High in insoluble fiber Serving Size Grams
All-Bran cereal 1/3 cup 8.5
Bran Chex cereal 2/3 cup 4.6
Prunes cooked, 1 cup 14.0
Raisin Bran cereal 3/4 cup 4.8
Whole-wheat bread 1 slice 1.9


High in soluble fiber Serving Size Grams
Apple 1 medium 3.0
Oat Bran 1/3 cup raw 4.9
Pear 1 medium (with skin) 4.3
Strawberries 1 cup 3.9


Cereal rules
There are three things to look for in a good cereal:

  • It's made with whole grains.
  • It has at least 6 grams of fiber per serving.
  • It doesn't taste like cardboard.

Most high-fiber cereals are made with wheat bran, which is rich in insoluble fiber. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, though many oat cereals contain only a trace of oat bran fiber, the part that really counts.

Choose a cereal that has less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

  • Whole grain cereals provide selenium, the mineral linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
  • By adding bananas, berries or apple slices to your cereal, you're also adding additional vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Note: It may take a while for your gut to get used to a high-fiber breakfast cereal. If intestinal gas is a problem, start with ½ sized portions.

Breads and spreads: An occasional treat
Bread and toast are American traditions. If you eat them, keep these tips on mind:

  • Choose whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, which have a low glycemic index, meaning they don't raise your blood sugar as much as regular white breads.
  • Bagels, like white bread, have a high glycemic index and little fiber.

If you use breakfast spreads, here's some advice:

  • Avoid eating butter on a regular basis; it's high in saturated fat.
  • Choose spreads with either plant stanols or sterols, such as Benecol and Take Control.
  • Stick margarine may be worse because it contains trans fats.
  • Honey and jam have no fat, but they 're too sugary for daily use in large amounts.

Fruit and juice: Tank up
The best diets include at least two to four portions of fruit a day. Breakfast is a prime time to meet your fruit goals. Pick the fruits you like best; there are no bad choices. Unsweetened fruit juices are a reasonable alternative if you are on the run.

Eggs: No longer considered bad for you.
Although each contains about 213 milligrams of cholesterol, they don’t have much effect on blood cholesterol levels. Eggs are a good source of protein and there is no evidence that they increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.  

Milk: Reduce the fat to reduce total calories
If you drink whole milk, switch to 2% milk. If you drink 2%, move down to 1% or nonfat milk. They all provide some of the calcium and vitamin D you need. If you're lactose intolerant, pour soymilk on your cereal.

Skip breakfast to lose weight? Don't!
Many people assume that skipping meals will help them lose weight. It's not true, particularly if the missed meal is breakfast. A study of more than 16,000 American adults found that those who ate breakfast were leaner than those who skipped breakfast.

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Last updated September 30, 2014

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