Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Why I never eat breakfast cereal.

(Warning, this is a non-evidence based, anecdotal post)

I've been working exclusively in weight management for over 7.5 years. I figure during that time I've had over 4,000 patients. I've also been tracking my own eating, and at times, so too has my wife hers.

Something I've noticed?

Cereal doesn't hold me well. Many of my patients neither.

Doesn't matter if the cereal's fortified with protein or not, high fibre or low, if I consume the same number of calories from a more "solid" food like eggs and toast, or toast and peanut butter, it provides me far greater satiety.

My wife, during her 3rd pregnancy, was much hungrier than her other two. When she tracked her hunger in a food diary it became clear to her - it was the cereal.

Working with my patients, I've often seen the same pattern.

And sometimes it's not daytime hunger that's amplified by breakfast cereal, but rather afternoon and nighttime struggles and cravings.

Whether it's a carb thing, an insulin thing, or some other thing, I don't know. Carb wise, given my go to is toast with something, I'm not convinced, but whatever the cause, I know cereal and me, we don't work well together.

So if you're a cereal eater, and if you also happen to struggle with cravings and hunger at any point in the day, why not try the very simple personal science experiment of swapping out the cereal? Worst case scenario, it doesn't help at all, and best case, you'll have some improvement over dietary control.

If you want to be pseudo-sciency, pick up a food diary for the experiment. Keep track of hunger, cravings, control etc., and then if you're really keen, try a bunch of different breakfast options, rotating them around (including cereal), to see if there are certain breakfasts that work better for you than others at conferring better full day control.

What have your cereal experiences been like?

(Full disclosure - I have no affiliation whatsoever with toast, egg or peanut butter manufacturers, and I'm not selling any cereal makers short)