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15 Breakfast Foods to Avoid, Plus 10 to Try – Healthline

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With many people claiming that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you may wonder whether all breakfast options are created equal.
After all, who wouldn’t like to enjoy a tasty, filling, and nutritious breakfast that keeps them fueled for the morning ahead?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healthiest breakfast choices contain a combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you feeling full until lunchtime, along with a moderate amount of unrefined carbs to provide quick energy (1, 2, 3).
Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods don’t meet these criteria and may leave you feeling either hungry shortly after eating or uncomfortably full.
Here are 15 breakfast foods to skip, along with 10 healthier alternatives and some tips and ideas on how to create your own healthy breakfasts that’ll have you excited to get out of bed and start the day.
Despite their sweet, crunchy profile and common presence on the breakfast table, most sugary cereals won’t sustain you for long.
They’re typically full of sugar and low in protein, meaning that they’ll rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. This can lead to irritability and hunger once the blood-sugar-reducing hormone insulin takes effect (4).
Likewise, even unsweetened cereals like corn or bran flakes tend to be low in protein, with just 2 grams of protein per cup (25 grams) and 4 grams of protein per cup (45 grams), respectively. So, while they contain less added sugar, they’re still not the best way to start your day (5, 6).
Even more natural-seeming options like granola are often loaded with added sugars, which have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (7).
For these reasons, while sugary or other highly refined cereals may be alright as a once-in-a-while treat, they’re not the best everyday breakfast option.
We hate to break it to you, but pancakes and waffles are not a nutritious way to fuel your mornings. Despite their tasty profile, these comfort foods are often made with refined white flour and topped with butter and syrup, which is essentially pure sugar.
This means that pancakes and waffles are high in calories, fat, and sugar, yet lacking in protein and fiber. So, while they can fill you up quickly, they won’t keep you full for long (2).
However, if your cravings for pancakes or waffles are too strong to ignore, opt for versions with whole grains or other nutrient-dense ingredients like almond or chickpea flour. You can pair them with protein sources of your choice, and use nut butter instead of syrup as a topping.
Buttered toast is a simple and easy breakfast. All you need is a slice of bread and some butter, and you’re in for a crunchy, salty morning meal.
Nevertheless, this option won’t sustain you for any lasting amount of time due to its lack of protein. The vast majority of the calories in buttered toast come from the carbs in the bread and the fat from the butter (8, 9).
Yet, bread and butter can still be an appropriate breakfast option if you choose whole grain bread and add protein-rich toppings like eggs or shredded chicken breast. To further boost the nutrient content, add sliced vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or leafy greens.
Muffins are widely considered to be a somewhat healthy choice for breakfast, especially if they contain healthy ingredients like bran, oats, apples, or blueberries.
Unfortunately, this is often a misconception. In fact, most muffins are made with refined white flour, oil, and loads of sugar, offering little in the way of protein or fiber. Additionally, they’re often large and loaded with calories, some containing nearly 400 calories each (10).
If you still decide to reach for a muffin in the morning, make sure to choose a version made with whole grain or other types of less refined flour, fruits and nuts, and minimal added sugar.
Even though you might think that quenching your thirst with fruit juice is healthier than drinking sugary sodas or sweetened teas, it’s not the best drink choice.
While fruit juice contains nutrients and antioxidants, it’s high in sugar and low in the fiber found in whole fruits, meaning it’s not particularly filling (11).
Thus, it’s best to only enjoy this colorful drink occasionally, and stick to whole fruit most mornings.
Donuts, cinnamon rolls, danishes, and toaster pastries are just a few examples of the many breakfast pastries that are commonly reached for on busy mornings.
However, these aren’t good choices for your go-to breakfast. They’re loaded with sugar, fat, and calories while being low in protein and fiber. That means they’re unlikely to keep you full for any significant amount of time, and you may end up hungry long before lunchtime (12).
Save these breakfast pastries for special occasions or once-in-a-while treats, and choose a more balanced meal for your day-to-day breakfast.
Among yogurt’s many benefits, it’s a good source of protein and probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that may improve your digestive health (13).
However, many types of yogurt are loaded with added sugar, making them less healthy choices. What’s more, many popular varieties have had most or all of their fat content removed, which means they may be less filling than full fat alternatives (14).
For a healthier alternative, try full fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt. It’s higher in protein than other varieties, and you can easily sweeten it yourself to taste. For example, add a dash of honey, a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia, or better yet, sliced, grated, or mashed fresh fruits.
There are many varieties of breakfast bars on the market, from granola to cereal to oat bars.
Regrettably, the vast majority of these are highly processed and full of added sugars, which makes them a suboptimal breakfast choice (15).
If you still opt for a breakfast bar, look for one that’s made with whole food ingredients, contains limited added sugar, and has at least 10 grams of protein per serving to promote fullness.
Essentially all common breakfast meats are highly processed — bacon, sausage, and ham included. These are loaded with salt, which may increase blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals (16).
They also contain other additives like nitrites, which may increase your risk of certain cancers like stomach cancer. Nevertheless, more research is needed to fully understand how processed meat intake affects cancer risk (17, 18).
Regardless, decreasing your intake may help lower your risk. Instead, try making a simple, healthier sausage alternative using seasoned ground pork.
While biscuits and gravy are a traditional Southern breakfast in the United States, they’re best reserved for special occasions.
Biscuits, which are a type of breakfast quick bread, are high in fat and typically made with refined white flour. Additionally, the gravy they’re served with is usually made with salty and high fat ingredients like oil or butter and pork sausage, along with more white flour (19).
So, even though this meal may keep you feeling full for a while, it’s not the most nutritious choice.
The high fat content of the meal can also lead to digestive upset and leave you feeling uncomfortably full (20).
Some premade smoothies, particularly those you can get from drive-thru shops, mostly comprise sugar, and they’re typically made from powders or mixes rather than fresh ingredients.
Unfortunately, smoothies tend to be low in protein, so they won’t keep you full for long. If you’re stopping by a smoothie shop for breakfast, ask for extra protein powder if it’s an option, and look for a flavor that’s free of added sugar (21, 22, 23).
Alternatively, you can easily make a healthier smoothie at home by combining wholesome ingredients like leafy greens, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, oats, milk, and protein powder.
Sometimes, getting an on-the-go breakfast from the drive-thru is hard to avoid — or perhaps, you simply feel like it.
However, know that most fast-food breakfast options, such as breakfast sandwiches or burritos with eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, or a hash brown patty, are packed with calories, fat, and refined carbs (24, 25, 26).
To keep it on the healthier side, decline the hash brown side and choose a drink with no added sugar like water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee.
Specialty coffee drinks like mochas, frappes, or caramel macchiatos can be a sweet fix full of sugar. In fact, some drinks contain a whopping 70 grams of sugar, equaling 280 calories or more per serving (27).
Having one of these drinks as your breakfast may quickly spike your blood sugar levels. This will cause your body to secrete insulin to bring those levels back down, which can leave you feeling hungry and irritable (4).
Furthermore, if you’re having one of these drinks alongside breakfast foods, your meal likely contains excessive calories and sugar, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Hash brown patties are a common fast-food breakfast side, but you can also purchase them frozen at the grocery store. While the frozen types may seem like a healthier option than their fast-food counterparts, they’re similar.
Even store-bought frozen hash brown patties are pre-fried. Thus, they’re still high in fat, which adds extra calories to your meal. Plus, deep-fryer fats may harm your health in other ways, for example by promoting inflammation (28, 29).
A significantly better option is homemade hash browns. You can also look for other varieties of frozen hash browns that are precooked but not fried in oil.
Bagels are a breakfast classic item, but if you’re buying one from a bakery, you may be in for a massive portion.
One large 4.6-ounce (131-gram) bagel contains nearly 350 calories, along with nearly 70 grams of carbs from refined flour and only 2 grams of fiber — and that’s with no toppings (30).
Adding toppings like cream cheese and smoked salmon can make bagels significantly more satiating and nutritious, though doing so increases the meal size. As a general rule, stick to half a bagel with nutritious toppings instead.
The best breakfast options provide fast-acting energy while keeping you full until lunch. In other words, they should contain a balance of protein, fat, and complex, unrefined carbs — ideally from whole foods rather than highly processed ones (1, 2, 3).
Here are some healthier breakfast options to try:
Additionally, challenge your habits by not limiting yourself to typical breakfast foods for your first meal of the day.
Any combo of foods that provides protein, healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil, or the fat in foods like unprocessed meats, nuts, and seeds), and energy-providing carbs can be an excellent breakfast meal — even if it’s leftovers from a previous night’s dinner (31, 32).
What’s more, you don’t have to eat breakfast if you’re not hungry when you wake up. While some people may be hungry in the morning, others may not be ready to eat until closer to lunchtime.
Although you’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, being attuned to your hunger cues can be more beneficial to your health than forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry.
In fact, eating when you’re not hungry can lead to excess calorie intake and unwanted weight gain (33, 34).
Many common breakfast items fall short when it comes to protein and fiber, leaving you feeling hungry well before your next opportunity to eat. Meanwhile, other options are loaded with fat and may leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.
While you don’t have to avoid these choices completely, you may want to choose more well-balanced meals for your go-to weekday breakfast and keep the suboptimal choices for special occasions.
Try to make sure that your first meal of the day contains protein, fiber, and healthy fats to promote fullness, as well as some carbs to provide energy. In addition, try to avoid drinks that are full of sugar, such as fruit juice or sweetened coffee drinks.
Finally, choosing a breakfast that’s made from whole foods rather than processed foods or refined carbs is a better choice that may help optimize your health and get your day started right.
Last medically reviewed on May 27, 2021
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What Causes Narcolepsy? These Factors May Play a Role | Health.com – Health.com

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In many cases, chronic sleepiness is tied to low levels of certain brain chemicals.
When diagnosed with a new condition, the first question is almost always "How?" We naturally want to know exactly what brought us to that moment. This curiosity may be even stronger with something like narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder that is both under-recognized and misunderstood, according to the nonprofit Project Sleep.
While scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of narcolepsy, a majority of cases are tied to low levels of a brain chemical involved in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And other factors are thought to play a role in triggering the disease process.
Here's how sleep experts explain the causes of narcolepsy.
Before delving into the causes, let's consider what narcolepsy looks like.
Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, vivid dreams, and more, says Steven Thau, MD, division chief of the Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Department and medical director of the Sleep Center at Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health.
It can present at any point in a person's life, but most commonly it initially occurs in a person's teens or 20s, Dr. Thau tells Health.
While each case is different, excessive daytime sleepiness is generally the first symptom to surface. Symptoms such as hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and cataplexy may follow, says Manjamalai Sivaraman, MD, FAASM, a sleep medicine specialist and neurologist at the University of Missouri. The latter may not happen for a few years, if at all. 
RELATED: What Are the Types of Narcolepsy? Sleep Experts Explain the Differing Presentations of This Sleep Disorder
There are two main types of narcolepsy: types 1 and 2. There's also a third known as secondary narcolepsy. (More on that one below.)
Narcolepsy type 1 covers anyone who has low levels of hypocretin (a brain chemical that controls wakefulness) and experiences cataplexy (sudden muscle loss), according to the Mayo Clinic. Type 1 makes up about 70% of narcolepsy cases, says Richard Bogan, MD, a medical officer at SleepMed, Inc. and associate clinical professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
People with narcolepsy type 2 may experience all the symptoms of narcolepsy except cataplexy—and their symptoms are often less severe, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). And their hypocretin levels are usually normal.
While there are no known ways to prevent or cure type 1 or type 2 narcolepsy, NINDS notes that lifestyle changes and medications may be helpful for maintaining alertness and managing other symptoms.
RELATED: Is Narcolepsy Genetic? What Sleep Experts Say About Inheriting This Chronic Disorder
While the science is still evolving, here's what's known so far.
People with type 1 narcolepsy have very low levels of brain chemicals called hypocretins. These chemicals, first discovered in 1998, are important for a couple of reasons, per the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. For one thing, they keep people awake and alert. They also prevent people from drifting off into REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep while they're awake.
In people type 1 narcolepsy, however, the nerve cells that produce hypocretins die off, and the resulting dearth of these chemicals leads to sleepiness and poorly regulated REM sleep, per Harvard's Sleep Medicine Division.
Research by two separate investigative teams suggests that type 1 narcolepsy is caused by a severe loss of neurons that produce these chemicals, per a 2015 review in the New England Journal of Medicine.
As for what causes type 2 narcolepsy? It's possible that people who have this form of the disorder may sustain less injury to their neurons than those with type 1, according to that same review, which references a 2009 Sleep study. But data on the disease process involved in type 2 narcolepsy "are quite limited," notes the New England Journal.
Bottom line: Scientists don't fully understand what triggers the loss of hypocretin-producing cells, although it appears that one or more of the following factors may be involved:
Most people with narcolepsy, especially type 1, have a gene variation known as HLA-DQB1*06:02. It is a variation of the HLA-DQB1 gene, which "provides instructions for making part of a protein that plays an important role in the immune system," according the US National Library of Medicine. The risk of narcolepsy associated with this variation and related genes is unclear to researchers at this time.
That same gene variation is found in 50% of people with narcolepsy type 2, but only 12-30% of the general population, according to the New England Journal.
Speaking of risk factors, narcolepsy isn't a disorder that tends to run in the family. According to NINDS, just up to 10% of people with type 1 narcolepsy have a close family member who presents with similar symptoms. If a parent has narcolepsy, the odds of passing it down to a child is only about 1%, says Mayo Clinic.
People with the HLA-DQB1*06:02 gene variation may be at increased risk of developing narcolepsy after being exposed to a trigger, such as an infection, says NINDS. That's based on studies of people after they developed narcolepsy.
Upper airway infections such as streptococcus pyogenes and influenza A (including H1N1) are strongly associated with narcolepsy, per a 2011 study in the Annals of Neurology, especially in cases where it begins in childhood, notes Dr. Sivaraman.
We know that people with narcolepsy type 1 have low hypocretin levels—but why? A leading theory considers narcolepsy to be an autoimmune disorder.
"There are supporting evidences for autoimmune destruction—the immune system in one's body attacking its own healthy cells—of hypocretin neurons in the hypothalamus of the brain," says Dr. Sivaraman. To break it down, if this theory is true, then a person's own immune system is responsible for the brain lacking in hypocretin.
As Dr. Thau puts it, in this case, "the cells that control wakefulness are damaged."
Currently, researchers are working on using immunotherapy to reverse this loss, Dr. Bogan tells Health. According to a 2020 review published in Current Treatment Options in Neurology, small studies have shown an improvement in symptoms for narcolepsy patients after using immunotherapy treatment, especially those who recently presented with the disease. However, the experiments were uncontrolled and did not have clear endpoints, requiring more research to achieve any definitive answer on the treatment's benefits.  
RELATED: 7 Narcolepsy Symptoms to Know, According to Sleep Specialists
Unlike narcolepsy types 1 and 2, doctors do know the "why" behind secondary narcolepsy. This form of narcolepsy occurs when the brain's hypothalamus region gets damaged, according to Harvard's Division of Sleep Medicine.
These people can experience all of the same symptoms as those with types 1 and 2. However, they might also have severe neurological problems and require a large amount of sleep—typically 10 hours or more.
"In rare cases, brain lesions or diseases such as tumors, vascular malformations, strokes or inflammatory diseases of the brain can result in the destruction of the signaling pathways that increase brain activity and promote wakefulness," says Dr. Thau.
According to the National Health Service, secondary narcolepsy causes include:
As Dr. Thau notes, "a healthy lifestyle and avoiding smoking or the use of illicit drugs decrease the risk of some of the disorders that cause secondary narcolepsy."
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Mount Laurel police asks public's help in finding child – Courier Post

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MOUNT LAUREL – Police are asking the public’s help in finding a 6-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her non-custodial mother.
The girl, Grace Craytor of Pennsauken, was last seen around 7:10 p.m. Monday with her mother, Kristina Maletteri, at Lifetime Fitness in Mount Laurel, according to township police.
The girl’s father, who has a full custody order for Grace, had invited Maletteri to swim with the child during a supervised visit at the facility at Church and Fellowship roads, said a police account.
 “At some point, Ms. Maletteri is said to have taken her daughter and left the area without consent,” the account said.
Maletteri is known to drive a 2017 silver Audi Q3 with New Jersey license plates “S64MPY.”
The missing child is 46 inches tall, 70 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Mount Laurel police at 856-234-8300 or the confidential tip line 856-234-1414, extension 1599.
Tips can also be emailed to Lamaro@mountlaurelpd.org.
Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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Healthy Snacks for the Office – How to Pack Food for Work – menshealth.com

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Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site.
Allow these experts to help pack your lunchbox.
Buh-bye, vending machine. Here are four easy ways to boost your energy at work. Plus, three moves to make any lunch meeting extra appetizing.
Combine carbs and protein for long-lasting energy, says Marisa Moore, R.D.N., an integrative dietitian. Mix roasted, lightly salted sunflower seeds and dried blueberries in a small jar for a snack that’s sweet, salty, and crunchy. Bonus: The unsaturated fats in the seeds will keep you feeling full.
A favorite of Cara Harbstreet, R.D., of Street Smart Nutrition, is protein- and omega-3-rich tuna or salmon (StarKist makes packaged versions) spread on sliced cucumbers or mini bell peppers. Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce for a tiny yet protein-packed meal.
Jordan Mazur, R.D., director of nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers, suggests these key ingredients: shredded rotisserie chicken for lean protein; pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin seeds,dried tart cherries, and dark chocolate chips for a healthy trail mix; and antioxidant-rich blueberries or grapes.
Don’t go more than three to four hours without eating, to help keep your blood sugar steady. You can avoid mindless snacking by setting an alarm to get up every hour instead of reaching for the chips, says Kelly Hogan Laubinger, R.D
As we head back to the office, those DIY outdoor lunches can still be the thing to do.
TRY A HEARTY SALAD IN A JAR, says Moore. Build it from the bottom up: Start with a vinaigrette, then add chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers. Add feta to the top for a salty, tangy finish. Close, and shake when ready to eat.
REINVENT YOUR SANDWICH. Slapping protein and a salad’s worth of greens between whole-grain bread works well, too: Try sliced turkey or canned tuna, topped with sprouts, cucumbers, leafy greens, avocado, and tomato.
MAKE A HEALTHY CHEESE BOARD, says Harbstreet. Go with hard cheeses like cheddar and Gouda and a soft cheese like cottage. Pair pita bread or crispy crackers with jerky or low-sodium deli meats. Then toss in pistachios and blueberries.
This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Men’s Health.

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