Excerpt from "Which breakfast delight is the real food bomb?"
Recently, our family sat around the
breakfast table. We were four generations
ranging in age from 2 to 84. All of us had
fresh fruit from the platter of watermelon,
pineapple, papaya, mango and banana.
The baby ate crackers and drank her
"bobble" with a chocolate sandwich cookie.
The 5- and 6-year-olds had multicolored
sweetened cold cereal and pieces of their
mom's fresh bakery pastry. Mom also had a
glazed doughnut. Grandma had fruit and a
frozen waffle. Grandpa had bacon and
eggs. Great grandma had raisin bran and
high fiber toast spread with margarine and
Which family member(s) ate the breakfast
We are all fairly well schooled on the two
cholesterols, LDL and HDL. LDL is the evil
twin. Elevated levels are associated with
heart attack, stroke, vascular disease and
premature death. We know that saturated
fats from lard or heavy cream raise LDL
(bad). Poly unsaturated and mono
unsaturated fats like canola, corn,
safflower and olive oil actually lower LDL a
little when used in moderation (not bad).
HDL is the good twin. It helps remove fat
from the blood stream and retards fatty
deposits in blood vessels (good).
Indigestible fiber lowers cholesterol a little,
decreases the frequency of colon cancer
and saves older folk from terminal
constipation. Where most of us need a
refresher course is in the area of trans fats
(very bad). They don't occur naturally,
and the body doesn't need even trace
amounts of them. The have three negative
properties: they cause higher LDL (bad),
lower HDL (bad) and stickier blood
platelets (bad). They may worsen diabetes
Labels are often intentionally misleading.
Cholesterol-free says nothing about
saturated fats or trans fats. 2 percent milk
does not have 98 percent of the fat
removed. It has about half the fat left in.
Whole milk has about 4% fat content.
Back at the table, crackers, cookies, most
cereals, frozen waffles, pastries even from
bakeries, doughnuts, packaged bread,
most margarine and some jelly contain
significant amounts of trans fats.
Grandpa's bacon and eggs are appropriate
health food only if he is one in four in his
age group for whom a low carbohydrate
diet is best. Although his choice is trans
fat-free, he is eating a lot of saturated
fat, a potential problem for the other three
out of four of his peers.
The only issue with great grandma is her
present comfort. She is correct to choose
lots of fiber, even though everything on
her plate contains trans fats. Long term,
Mom and her babies are probably most at
risk. The fish sticks, chicken nuggets,
pudding cups and chips they eat for lunch
are as bad as their breakfast choices.
So what should you eat for breakfast?Your
choices are likely to be healthier if you
remember the science and read labels.
Another option is the Tico choice, fresh
fruit and gallo pinto (beans and rice).
Plenty of fiber and no trans fats if it is
fried in corn oil, not "cholesterol free all
vegetable" trans fat laden manteca,
Add eggs, sour cream and cheese at your
own risk. For those of you who are
absolutists, eat steamed broccoli with
three glasses of water. You may not live
to be 100, but it will surely feel like it.
AM Costa Rica Sept 3rd, 2004