Maybe Your morning Porridge isn't so healthy after all...???
Spoiler Alert: the media have convinced us that instant porridge is a healthy breakfast choice for those looking to manage their weight and maintain a healthy diet, but healthy it is not!
If you’re looking to maintain a healthy diet, instant porridge is not the breakfast choice for you. It may seem like the perfect way to start your day – after all, it’s full of fibre and vitamins. But when you take into account its high sugar content, high-calorie count and high carb count, it becomes clear that porridge isn’t as healthy as you’ve been misled to believe.
The trend towards eating instant porridge may need to be revisited, as a new study suggests it has negative effects on blood sugar regulation.
The reason? processed oats are basically sugar! They digest more quickly and are broken down into sugar in the body, which will cause your blood sugar levels to rise faster. And you can forget about adding any sweeteners (even natural ones such as honey). You are basically adding sugar to sugar which will lead to increased insulin levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dr David Unwin's sugar infographics
A study was published on the Public Health Collaboration website. It looked at how different types of breakfast cereals affect blood sugar regulation.
The sugar infographics help people understand the approximate effect various foods may have on their blood sugar in terms of a 4-gram teaspoon of sugar. For example, a bowl of 150ml of oat porridge is roughly equivalent to 4 1/2 teaspoons of sugar (weighing 4g per teaspoon).
To find out more about Dr David Unwin’s publications in the journal of insulin resistance please click the links below.
What happens when I eat Instant porridge?
When we eat porridge, our bodies have to work a lot harder to regulate our blood sugar levels. This isn’t altogether a bad thing; it happens when we eat any food with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which can be the main source of energy for our bodies. Glucose can also plays an important role in fuelling brain activity and helping us think clearly.
However, when there’s too much glucose (or blood sugar), your body will store it in the liver or muscles as glycogen—a form of short-term storage that can be converted into energy whenever needed. This means that rather than searching for something else to burn first (like body fat), your body will always turn to this newly stored glycogen fuel because it’s available immediately when needed for energy production!
Despite what clever marketing may have told you, the truth is instant porridge = instant sugar
In the UK, porridge is synonymous with health. The traditional Scottish breakfast of oatmeal or oatcakes with jam and fruit, plus a cup of tea has become an all-around symbol of being healthy. In fact many of us have been led to believe that drinking a
tasty fruit juice with our breakfast porridge is healthier still and one of our “Five-A-Day”. For more, please enjoy Graham’s fruit-smoothie experiment here.
And while it’s true that the occasional porridge breakfast can be part of a balanced diet (and even help you lose weight), there are some serious problems when adding it to your everyday morning routine.
Porridge contains more sugar than most people realize. When you eat something sweet like jam or honey on your oats, you’re adding further levels of glucose—the same kind found in drinks like sodas and sports drinks. And instant oats are cooked using boiling water, which also helps break down the carbohydrates and release their sugars into your body faster. Its almost like the sugar in your instant porridge is “pre-digested”
This is why many people experience big spikes in blood sugar levels after eating instant oats for breakfast instead of (say) boiled eggs—i.e. something much more conducive to sustained energy levels throughout the day without leaving you feeling hungry again an hour later because your blood sugar went up like a rocket then crashed like a lead balloon!
Porridge can be a truly healthy option (if prepared properly)
Porridge is usually made with oats. Oats are a good source of fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system.
Porridge served with full-fat milk or cream is also high in saturated fat, which we know will not kill you and is in fact good for you! To learn more about Saturated fats please read this blog.
Dried fruit is not as healthy as you may believe. Natural fruit is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre that can help you stay energised. However, like blended fruit, dried fruit has been stripped of most of its nutritional content which can actually end up being bad for you. to learn more about the deconstruction of fruits, please enjoy this podcast with Ivor Cummins and Graham Phillips.
Despite what we’ve said above, porridge can be an excellent breakfast option (if prepared properly). We have two great alternative options for you instead of the processed oats from the big food corporations.
Maria Lucia Bakes is a great choice if you are looking for something quick on busy days when you don’t have time to cook yourself a healthy meal! She produces healthy breakfast cereals that are gluten wheat and dairy-free, low sugar, high fibre and protein, and packed full of nuts and seeds.
The homemade On-The-Go Porridge Pots are a mixture of fine oat flakes, rice flakes and coconut sugar with a creamy texture and smooth bite, giving our porridge a slight caramel flavour and aroma from the coconut sugar.
Diet Doctor is another great healthy breakfast choice. The website offers free recipes as well as tips for eating right throughout the day so that your body gets everything it needs without sacrificing taste (or time).
When you join ProLongevity Gold, you will also receive a free Diet Doctor membership that is tailored to your health goals.
ProLongevity’s founder Graham Phillips, has a wealth of experience as a qualified pharmacist and with 35 years of experience aims to help treat the fundamental problems people are facing with diabetes and related conditions. Here at ProLongevity, we believe in helping you live healthier for longer by making the right choices for your lifestyle and diet. Book your free 15 minute consultation, and we take the steps to help you.