If bananas and yogurt are as bad for us as bacon, why don’t we just eat what we want for breakfast? Photo: Shutterstock
Mouthing Off
by Andrew Sun
Mouthing Off
by Andrew Sun

Bacon or pancakes for breakfast? Bananas and yogurt are now considered terrible – why don’t we just eat what we want?

  • I used to enjoy quick and easy breakfasts of muesli with fruit and yogurt, but now ‘nutritionists’ are telling me it’s a terrible idea
  • Most breakfast foods, from congee to Frosted Flakes, have little health value, but why should that stop us from eating them?

Here’s my breakfast dilemma: my girlfriend likes hearty and warming foods. She’ll whip up frittatas, Spanish omelettes, or anything with potatoes, cheese and eggs in a heavy pan.

Before you say, “Oh, you’re such a lucky guy,” the combo is generally way too heavy for me in the morning. There’s also little to no fibre. These days, I’m trying to control my calories, so her “eggs-travaganza” doesn’t help. I know my doctor is going to have that disappointed look when my cholesterol count goes up again.

By myself, I’ll just have some muesli, with berries, a banana, and some big dollops of yogurt. I can’t be bothered to cook in the morning. It takes too much time. Time I’d rather spend asleep.

Oats are supposed to be one of the best things to eat for breakfast. I don’t even add milk. Yogurt provides enough moisture to the mix. A sliced banana adds contrast and sweetness so I don’t feel like I’m chewing sawdust. It’s quick, easy and, until recently, a morning option I considered super-healthy.

The writer isn’t a fan of Spanish omelettes (above) for breakfast. Photo: Shutterstock

However, the internet has a way of making me question this assembly of ingredients. It started with a story where “nutritionists” suggest bananas are terrible things to eat at breakfast.

According to the article, bananas can cause a spike in blood sugar. Although it’s a fruit, it’s mostly carbohydrates which could lead to a midmorning crash in your energy, which leads to later overeating.

Dinner and a show is dead. We want Peking duck carving and sizzling steaks

Another story suggested yogurt might not be the best food first thing in the morning. Because it’s fermented, it’s acidic by nature. Some sensitive folks can’t handle too much acid, especially on an empty stomach.

Now what am I supposed to think? “Honey, got any more sausage potato pancake with melted cheese on top?”

With the popularity of intermittent fasting, some think that breakfast should not only be optional, but discouraged. Studies on breakfast eaters and those who skipped the morning meal concluded breakfast did not jump-start the metabolism as was previously believed. Breakfast or no breakfast did not have any significant impact on weight loss.

The classic Hong Kong breakfast of congee and fried doughnut sticks ‘has little nutritional value’. Photo: Shutterstock

Honestly, I give up. Eat whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it.

The Hong Kong favourites congee and fried doughnut sticks offer little nutritional value. As for dim sum, it’s not healthy like oatmeal but plenty of old folk remain spry and energetic on this social ritual. Then there’s the oddly tasty macaroni and ham soup. How exactly is that good for us?

Actually, most traditional breakfast foods – from pancakes, bacon fry-ups, to buttery croissants – seem like terrible things to eat in the morning. Health experts might argue such decadent foods are not really meant for daily consumption, but some of us grew up with a large bowl of sugary Cocoa Puffs and Frosted Flakes every morning and lived to tell about it.

With all the contrasting opinions about what is and isn’t healthy; we may as well eat what we want for breakfast. Photo: Shutterstock

The notion that certain foods are only meant for breakfast is also fast disappearing. Who hasn’t eaten cereal for dinner on a bare cupboard day? Waffles graduated to lunch and dinner status when they partnered with fried chicken as an entrée. All-day breakfast is now a thing.

I don’t even remember when bacon was a morning-only treat, now that its versatility is exploited in burgers, salads, and as hors d’oeuvre wrapped around asparagus. Let’s not even start on Southeast Asian breakfasts like nasi lemak and roti canai that debunk the myth that too much spice in the morning is bad for the stomach.

Compared to what passes for morning foods, perhaps leftover pizza isn’t such a bad idea after all. Although I would have to reheat it for my girlfriend.