5 Breakfast Foods That You Think Are Healthy But Are Junk

With all the misleading advertising bombarding us every day, it can be difficult to know how to identify healthy breakfast food options. Marketing buzzwords such as “all-natural”, “made with whole grains”, and even “organic,” give us a false sense if we trust them.

Successfully navigating the food industry’s deception requires some careful research into the products we’re buying, a kind of investigation which can be very time-consuming.

That’s why I do it for you.

Here are 5 junky breakfast foods you probably think are healthy.

Common Breakfast Foods That Aren’t So Healthy

I won’t be explaining why sugary cereals, pancakes, and waffles are not healthy breakfast options. If you believe these foods are nutritionally deficient, I strongly advise you to spend some time researching nutrition and food on trusted websites.

If you’re starting your day with processed carbohydrates, processed sugar, and baked goods, it’s like building a house on quicksand. Without a solid foundation, the structure simply won’t survive.

At least for very long.

Breakfast Bars

We often look for time-saving options when it comes to breakfast, so breakfast bars are an easy solution. Just grab, tear, and gulp.

Unfortunately, most breakfast bars are just candy bars dressed in a healthy wrapper, often containing anywhere from 4-7 teaspoons of sugar per bar! Other harmful ingredients can include high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), preservatives, gluten, and genetically modified organisms.

The sugar-free versions aren’t any better. When the normal sugar is removed, it’s replaced with artificial sugar, because fake sugar doesn’t have to be labeled as sugar. That’s considered “sugar-free.” Not much help is it?

There are some better options if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast or snack bar. We were excited to find Pure Bars after a lengthy and careful search. The carbohydrates come from a natural source, not an artificial one. They are also USDA certified organic, well processed, gluten-free, vegan, and free from GMOs.

Whole Grain Cereal

More breakfast/diet food. Interesting, no? It’s advertising that convinces people these products are healthy, not science.

The big cereal box acts as an advertising billboard. It is covered with catchphrases that have been proven to be effective in converting customers. If osteoporosis is the health issue of the day, breakfast food manufacturers will add calcium, regardless of whether or not their form of calcium is beneficial. If heart disease is a concern, they’ll find a vitamin somewhere in something that “may help lower cholesterol” and market it accordingly.

They’ll even tell you all those processed carbohydrates and sugary marshmallows are important for the growth and development of your kids.

Are there ever any research studies to back up their claims? Nope, and the few that exist aren’t reliable.

Check the ingredients list on your “whole grain” cereal box, because you’re likely to see a smattering of sugar, toxic additives and colorings, and other chemicals.

Check out the sugar content of the most popular whole grain cereals on the market today:

  • 1 cup of whole grain Cheerios has 5 teaspoons of sugar.
  • 3/4 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios has 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. 
  • 3/4 cup of whole grain Total has 4 teaspoons of sugar. 
  • 1 cup of whole grain Fiber One has 8.5 teaspoons of sugar!
  • 1 cup of Kashi whole grain flakes has a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar!

Now, how many people only eat 3/4 or a cup of cereal at a time?

Fruit Juice

When you think of fruit juice, think of two words: SUGAR BOMB!

Sorry for shouting, but it’s important to understand that fruit juice is NOT part of a nutritious breakfast. Yes, I’m talking about the “no added sugar” and sugar-free stuff, too.

Fruit juices contain almost the same amount of sugar as soda, and if the sugar has been removed, artificial sugars have been added.

“But, it’s the same thing as eating fruit, isn’t it?”

The sugar in real fruit is harmless in reasonable quantities, but fruit has one thing that fruit juice is lacking.


The fiber in fruit slows down digestion, making the impact on blood sugar much less significant. When the fiber isn’t present, the sugar (fructose) goes straight to the liver to be metabolized. From there is turns directly to fat, or worse, can overburden the liver and cause damage. I’m not saying fruit is dangerous. I’m saying fruit juice without the fiber isn’t something you want to be guzzling every day.

Read also: Fibre – What You Need To Know About It


I’m speaking of pasteurized milk, the details of which deserve an article unto themselves. In short, research shows that drinking pasteurized milk actually WEAKENS bones, has little to no nutritional value, and contains hormones that some scientists believe are one the largest contributors to prostate, breast, and colon cancer.


A medium-sized bagel can contain over 50 grams of carbohydrates. That’s over 12 teaspoons of sugar!

Carbohydrates like those in bread, bagels, cereal, pancakes, etc., are broken down into glucose (sugar) during digestion. These high-carb breakfast foods then cause a rapid spike in insulin which (over time) leads to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, insulin resistance, and the multitude of other health problems related to high insulin levels.

When insulin has finally cleared your bloodstream of all that sugar, you’ll crash and crave more carbs. This cycle is often why people get tired mid-morning and the reason why they can’t wait until lunch for something else to eat.

If you want to avoid the health dangers of high-carb breakfast foods, focus on sources of healthy fats and proteins in the morning. A few carbs are okay, but they should come from fruits and vegetables, not bread and waffles.

Aside from all these breakfast foods being high in sugar and other toxic ingredients, they also cause you to start your day at a nutritional deficit. Avoiding them will go a long way in helping you stay fit, energetic, and healthy overall.