Category Archives: breakfast

The most important meal of the day may not be as important as we think

222979_10150199008818407_4160974_nWe all heard it when we were kids. And our kids still hear it now. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We also heard, “You can’t be at your best without eating breakfast” and, “Breakfast fuels your morning.” Any combination of those statements has been emphasizing to us all that our day can’t possibly begin without sitting down to a good, healthy breakfast.

But that’s actually been debated for years. Adding to the ongoing debate about what makes for good food habits is another new study refuting the long-held notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s certainly not the first study to suggest this, but just one in a chain that has suggested that breakfast may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Earlier this year, another team had reported that when overweight and obese participants were asked to skip or eat breakfast, both groups lost the same amount of weight. Now, the new research, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, finds that normal weight breakfast eaters also aren’t necessarily any better off than breakfast skippers, at least metabolically speaking.

The study, conducted at the University of Bath, had 33 normal weight men and women either eat a breakfast (of at least 700 calories) before 11 a.m. or skip it all together. They recorded various metabolic markers – resting metabolic rate, cholesterol, and blood glucose – over a period of six weeks to see if there were any measurable differences between the two groups.

And there really weren’t any big ones. The only discernible difference was that breakfast skippers ate fewer total calories over the course of the day, which counters the image of the breakfast skipper binging later on to make up for the loss. The downside was that they did burn fewer calories over the course of a day. Meanwhile, breakfast eaters were more active in the morning, but this mainly offset the extra calories they’d consumed for breakfast.

In terms of metabolic profiles, the two groups looked pretty close. The breakfast group, especially at the end of the six weeks, did have slightly more stable blood sugar levels over the course of a day than breakfast skippers.

“I almost never have breakfast,” study author James Betts told The Times. “That was part of my motivation for conducting this research, as everybody was always telling me off and saying I should know better.” He added that he doesn’t have plans to change his routine.

Other studies have suggested that skipping breakfast is linked to considerably poorer cardiovascular health: One large study last year, which followed nearly 27,000 men over a period of 16 years, showed that skipping breakfast was linked to a 27% increased risk of coronary heart disease. The authors said this is likely due to the connections between extended fasting and blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

It’s worth mentioning that the current study was very small and short-term, and it will need to be repeated with more people and over a longer period of time. It may be that the effects of breakfast-skipping add up over time, and the results only evident after several years.

The bottom line is still that you should do what feels right. If you wake up famished and can’t make it more than an hour without feeling woozy, you should probably eat breakfast. But if you don’t even think about eating till midday, then you’re probably fine to skip it. There’s so much individual variation in nutrition and metabolism that the idea that eating breakfast is either a good thing or a bad thing is getting pretty hard to swallow.

It’s possible that some of the old food cliches that have become standard beliefs over generations may not be as true as we once thought. There are still a few, though, that FoodFacts.com believes might still be worth repeating to future generations. “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” “You are what you eat.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while breakfast might eventually prove to NOT be the most important meal of the day, we do think there’s still something to be said for it. A healthy meal in the morning just might set the tone for the rest of the choices we make during the day.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/08/23/why-breakfast-may-not-be-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day/

Fortified breakfast cereals — too much of a good thing?

cerealFor years, cereal manufacturers have been touting the fortification of their products with vitamins we need to stay healthy. Manufacturers are even fortifying the cereals you really don’t want your kids to eat. Apple Jacks, for instance, are fortified with 11 different essential vitamins. It appears now, though that young children who dig into a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal may be getting too much of a good thing.

A new report says that “millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, with fortified breakfast cereals the leading source of the excessive intake because all three nutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults.

Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing by food manufacturers who use high fortification levels to make their products appear more nutritious fuel this potential risk, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group(EWG), a Washington, D.C.-based health research and advocacy organization.

Although the Food and Drug Administration is currently updating nutrition facts labels that appear on most food packages, none of its proposed changes address the issue of over-consumption of fortified micronutrients, or that the recommended percent daily values for nutrition content that appear on the labels are based on adults,, says Renée Sharp, EWG’s director of research.

Only “a tiny, tiny percentage” of cereal packages carry nutrition labels that list age-specific daily values, Sharp says. “That’s misleading to parents and is contributing to the problem.”

The daily values for most vitamins and minerals that appear on nutrition facts labels were set by the FDA in 1968 and haven’t updated, she says, making them “wildly out-of-sync” with currently recommended levels deemed safe by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Getting adequate amounts of all three nutrients is needed to maintain health and prevent disease, but the report says that routinely ingesting too much vitamin A can, over time, lead to health issues such as liver damage and skeletal abnormalities. . High zinc intakes can impair copper absorption and negatively affect red and white blood cells and immune function, and consuming too much niacin can cause short-term symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting, the report says.

When combining food intake and vitamin supplements, the report calculates that more than 10 million American children are getting too much vitamin A; more than 13 million get excessive too much zinc; and nearly 5 million get too much niacin.

EWG’s analysis of nutrition facts labels for 1,556 breakfast cereals and 1,025 snack and energy bars identified:

•114 cereals fortified with 30% or more of the adult daily value ( or recommended level of intake) for vitamin A, zinc and/or niacin.

•27 snack and energy bars fortified with 50% or more of the adult daily value for at least one of the three nutrients.

•23 cereals with added fortification of one or more of the nutrients in amounts “much greater” than the levels deemed safe for children age 8 and younger by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cereals with the highest added nutrient levels include national brands such as Kellogg’s Product 19 and General Mills Total Raisin Brain, as well as store brands from Food Lion, Safeway and Stop & Shop.

In a statement, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Charles says, “The report ignores a great deal of the nutrition science and consumption data showing that without fortification of foods such as ready-to-eat cereals, many children would not get enough vitamins & minerals in their diets. Less than 2 percent of all cereals assessed by EWG made their “Top 23″ list and the vast majority of these are adult-oriented cereals not regularly consumed by children.”
The FDA, in a statement, said that proposed daily values for infants (7-12 months) and young children (1-3 years) are being considered, but not for 4-8 year olds “because they consume the same foods as the general population” and the FDA “is not aware of foods that are sold specifically for this age group.”

The agency added that it is proposing lowering daily intakes for these nutrients for the revamped food labels.

The evidence that millions of children are exceeding the safe upper levels for some nutrients “is fairly good and traceable to excessive marketing-driven fortification,” says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University, who was not involved in the EWG report. “But right now we don’t have a lot of evidence that it is creating massive health problems. Rather, I would say it is unnecessary, not health-promoting, and in some individual cases may be causing toxic problems.”

To help reduce the amount of vitamin A, zinc and niacin that kids consume, EWG says parents should limit the fortified cereals and other foods kids eat to those that contain no more than 20% to 25% of the adult daily value for each of the nutrients.

Just about every cereal we know of includes a notation that the nutrition facts listed apply to a typical 2000 calorie-a-day diet for the average adult. According to the report, Cocoa Krispies when eaten with milk provides 30% of the adult intake of Vitamin A — the upper acceptable limit for 8-year-olds.

FoodFacts.com certainly agrees this offers a new perspective on breakfast cereals — most of which are fortified. It’s interesting to learn that what consumers have always thought of as a good thing might just be a little too good after all.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/24/cereals-fortified-childrens-health/11103783/

High-protein breakfasts may decrease women’s risk of diabetes

High Protein Breakfasts Lower Women's Risk of DiabetesThere has been some news in the last year regarding the health benefits of a big breakfast. More specifically, there seems to be a link between consuming a bigger meal earlier in the day and lightening up on lunch and dinner and maintaining a healthy weight. It appears most of us here in the U.S. have that a bit backwards. We seem to go light on breakfast and even lunch and then consumer our biggest meal at dinner. Today we read new research linking a woman’s consumption of a high protein breakfast to a decreased risk of diabetes. That’s another vote for the big breakfast.

In healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose to the rest of the body. Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual’s risk of developing diabetes over time. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.

“For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercisephysiology. “If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future.”

Kevin Maki, of Biofortis Clinical Research, completed the study in collaboration with Leidy. They studied women aged 18-55 years old who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days. The tested meals were less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fiber contents. However, the meals varied in amount of protein: a pancake meal with three grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 39 grams protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants’ blood for four hours after they ate breakfast.

“Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast,” Maki said. “Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.”

These findings suggest that, for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options, Leidy said.

“Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change,” Leidy said. “However, one potential strategy to assist with this change might include the incorporation of prepared convenience meals, such as those included in this study.”

Leidy said the study provides a good model to initially examine the effect of higher-protein breakfasts on glucose and insulin responses since only healthy, non-diabetic women with appropriate glucose control were included in the study. Based on the study’s findings, the researchers are hopeful that the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts also would benefit individuals with pre-diabetes, although future research is needed to confirm.

The only problem FoodFacts.com has with any of the comments made here is the suggestion about incorporating prepared convenience meals into one’s diet in order to gain the benefits of that high-protein breakfast without consuming additional calories. We don’t particularly like that idea. We can come up with a few others that might work without the help of prepared products. Uncured turkey bacon comes to mind, as well as black beans as healthier, lower-fat protein sources that can work well with eggs for breakfast. Much better idea!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/276169.php

Under the bun: Starbucks new breakfast sandwiches

starbucks.jpgSome months it’s actually difficult to keep track of the new menu introductions from the fast food chains, and March is certainly no exception. This time, we have new product news from Starbucks.

While some don’t consider Starbucks to be fast food, it’s important to keep in mind that the chain is relying more and more on its food items as an integral part of its future success. About half of Starbucks total sales occur before 11 a.m. So we shouldn’t be surprised that earlier this month, they introduced four new breakfast sandwiches to the menu.

Let’s take a peek “under the bun,” as FoodFacts.com likes to say, and see what’s really going on with these four brand new breakfast choices.

Vegetable & Fontiago Breakfast Sandwich
This new option certainly sounds healthy enough. It features Spinach, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions and Fontiago cheese on a multigrain ciabatta bun. It also contains 470 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 910 mg of sodium. And while the ingredient list isn’t the worst we’ve seen, you’ll also enjoy some sulfur dioxide and caramel color.

Slow-Roasted Ham & Swiss Breakfast Sandwich
Simply ham, swiss cheese and egg on a croissant. Here you’ll be eating 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat and 830 mg of sodium. The saturated fat content equals 60 percent of your recommended daily intake. Not great. Natural flavors are included in the ingredient list, but there’s nothing else controversial listed.

Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
Reduced-fat turkey bacon and reduced-fat white cheddar cheese on an organic wheat English muffin. This one actually is a better choice if you’re looking for a Starbucks breakfast sandwich. With 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 560 mg of sodium, it’s a lighter option. The English muffin is made with organic ingredients. Natural flavors appear in this ingredient list as well.

Egg & Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich
This new sandwich is simply described as egg and cheddar cheese on multigrain toast, which certainly doesn’t sound bad. A closer look tells us that this simple sandwich will cost us 400 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat and 730 mg of sodium. We honestly weren’t expecting to find this particular set of nutrition facts in this sandwich. The good news here, though, is that there are no controversial ingredients included in this one at all.

FoodFacts.com “under the bun” conclusion: There’s definitely a mixed bag here. While most of these sandwiches are high in calories and fat (not to mention, saturated fat), the ingredient lists are better than many fast food breakfast choices available. The sandwiches aren’t the worst we’ve seen … but with a little work, they could be a lot better.

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/hot-breakfast/egg-cheddar-breakfast-sandwich

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/hot-breakfast/reduced-fat-turkey-bacon-breakfast-sandwich

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/hot-breakfast/slow-roasted-ham-swiss-breakfast-sandwich

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/hot-breakfast/vegetable-fontiago-breakfast-sandwich

Under $2.00, under 200 calories – 7-Eleven introduces new egg white breakfast sandwich

We live in a very calorie-driven food world, motivated by consumers who appear to care more about calorie counts than content. It’s evident everywhere. Processed diet foods claim millions of fans, even though the majority of product ingredient lists and nutrition facts are pretty poor. Canned soups are relied upon as low-calorie, “healthy” lunch choices, when the remainder of the story contained in their ingredients is far from positive. And fast food is no exception to this rule. There are plenty of examples of this phenomenon, especially when it comes to breakfast. With products touting turkey sausage and egg whites served on whole grain breads and muffins, all too often, their accompanying ingredient lists tell a completely different tale.

Now, 7-Eleven has introduced a brand new egg white breakfast sandwich that’s under 200 calories and costs just $1.99. Sounds like a dream come true for the calorie-crazed.

According to 7-Eleven, the sandwich offers consumers fluffy egg whites, lean Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese on a whole wheat English muffin. Sounds healthy enough.  Here at FoodFacts.com most of us are in agreement that 7-Eleven’s prepared breakfast sandwiches may not be the freshest offerings available. So we’re pretty skeptical about that “fluffy” egg white claim. They go on to say that their customers can even request to have their breakfast sandwiches toasted, or they can heat them up in an in-store microwave  in some locations. And sometimes, the sandwiches are in a small heated case, so they’re already warmed. Regardless of which option consumers choose, said sandwiches aren’t being prepared to order and may or may not have been sitting around for awhile. For some of us here, that’s somewhat off-putting. But we know there are many out there who don’t share that opinion.

The best we could do here was the nutrition facts that are readily available. The new sandwich contains just 180 calories, while boasting 13 g of protein, 5 g of fat, 2.5 g of saturated fat and 580 mg of sodium. And for those that are incredibly calorie conscious, those are pretty good numbers. When you consider that the 7-Eleven English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich with Egg, Sausage and Cheese weighs in at 390 calories, 25 g of fat, 9 g of saturated fat and 750 mg of sodium, the new egg white offering is definitely a leaner option.

“Our primary task was to create a great-tasting breakfast sandwich for people looking for a better-for-you alternative,” said Kelly Buckley, 7-Eleven vice president of fresh food innovation. “We have fresh-cut fruits, salads, yogurt parfaits and healthy, low-calorie sandwiches, and we wanted a breakfast option that fell into that better-for-you category without sacrificing taste and quality.”

“Many people are looking to make better choices, but not at the expense of flavor, quality, convenience or value,” Buckley said. “Eating away from home adds extra challenges for those looking for healthier food options. We wanted to remove that dilemma for the morning crowd who prefers a hot breakfast that is low-calorie, low-fat and high-protein.”

Honestly, the problem for us (as you may have guessed) is that we can’t get an ingredient list just yet. We’re trying, but it doesn’t seem to be available. So we’re not quite ready to say that this new sandwich is a better choice and can’t attest to the quality of this trimmed-down product. And while 180 calories, less fat and sodium are all admirable, it’s hard for us to weigh in until we can have a clear idea of the ingredients used to create this breakfast.

Sorry 7-Eleven, we’ll have to save that “Oh, thank Heavens” exclamation until we have a clearer concept of what’s really in this new hot or toasted or warm breakfast.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/7-eleven-introduces-low-cal-143000335.html

A hearty and healthy breakfast may help fertility

FoodFacts.com understands that currently about one in ten women experience difficulty when trying to conceive. Infertility is a difficult and painful journey for many. The latest technologies designed to help women conceive are effective for some – but not all. Additionally those technologies are exceptionally costly and not every prospective fertility patient has insurance that will cover these procedures. It would be a blessing for so many if there was a simple answer that might actually provide help for some of the women seeking to start a family. Today we read information about research that may prove beneficial.

A new study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University reveals that eating a good breakfast can have a positive impact on women with problems of infertility.

In recent years, nutritional research has found that our weight is affected not only by the level of calorie intake, but also by the question of when to consume large amounts of calories.

Now, research, conducted by Prof. Oren Froy, director of the Nutrigenomics and Functional Foods Research Center at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University, and Ma’ayan Barnea, plus Prof. Daniela Jocabovitz and Dr. Julio Weinstein from Tel Aviv University and Wolfson Medical Center, shows that a big breakfast increases fertility among woman who suffer from menstrual irregularities.

The study examined whether meal times have an impact on the health of woman with menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects approximately 6-10% of woman of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities. This syndrome creates a resistance to insulin, leading to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.

The experiment was carried out at Wolfson Medical Center on 60 women over a 12-week period. The women, from the ages of 25 to 39, were thin with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 23 and suffered from PCOS.

The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume about 1,800 calories a day. The difference between the groups was the timing of their largest meal. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other at dinner. Researchers wanted to examine whether the schedule of calorie intake affects insulin resistance and the increase in androgens among woman suffering from PCOS. The women kept records of exactly what they ate.

The findings, recently published in the journal Clinical Science, showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast. Glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8%, while the second group (“dinner”) showed no changes. Another finding showed that among the “breakfast” group, testosterone (one of the androgens) levels decreased by nearly 50%, while the “dinner” group level stayed neutral. In addition, there was a much higher rate of ovulating woman within the “breakfast group” compared to the “dinner” group, showing that eating a hearty breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

While we realize that further research is necessary to confirm these findings, FoodFacts.com is encouraged to learn that for some of the women experiencing fertility problems, a big healthy breakfast might just be their first step on their path to parenthood!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266880.php

At breakfast … big and healthy is best!

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community understands the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast every day. Our parents and grandparents have been repeating it for years … Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Today, we found a great reason to sit down – not just to a healthy breakfast, but to a big, healthy breakfast. We need to admit that this does make the idea of breakfast just a little more fun.

Researchers have found that eating a big breakfast of 700 calories promotes weight loss and reduces risks for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.

The study, recently published in Obesity comes from Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz and colleagues studied the impact of different caloric intake at varying times of day. What they found is that the time of day we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies process food.

To study how this timing affects our bodies, the team put 93 obese women into two different groups:

• “Big breakfast group” – consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner
• “Big dinner group” – consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner.
The women’s diets consisted of moderate fats and carbohydrates, totaling 1,400 calories, and they followed the diets for 12 weeks. The 700-calorie meals, whether eaten for breakfast or dinner, contained the exact same foods, and included a dessert item such as a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie.
• The women in the big breakfast group lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and 3 inches from their waist.
• The women in the big dinner group, on the other hand, only lost 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches from their waist.

Additionally, the women from the big breakfast group had larger decreases in insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels than the women from the big dinner group.

The researchers note that one of the most important findings is that the women from the big breakfast group did not experience high blood glucose level spikes that normally occur after a meal.

Although the big dinner group was eating a sensible diet and losing weight, the researchers actually found that their triglycerides – a type of fat found in the body – increased, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

FoodFacts.com thinks this information is a great invitation for all of us to figure out new and inventive ways to enjoy a large and healthy meal at the beginning of our day. The American Diabetes Association came up with more than a few of their own ideas. Things like Breakfast Shakes featuring fat free milk or yogurt and fruit, berry-topped muffins with yogurt, and healthy breakfast sandwiches with lean ham, cheese and fresh fruit all made an appearance on a list of unusual and inviting breakfast items. When the idea of eating a big breakfast is presented in the context of research illustrating for us that it’s healthier to go big at breakfast, FoodFacts.com encourages all of us to get cooking and get creative!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264624.php

The most important meal of the day

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community has heard their parents, grandparents and caregivers repeat any number of statements regarding their eating habits when they were children. You remember them … “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you,” “Drink your milk so you have strong bones,” “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyesight,” and “You have to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” Turns out they were absolutely right and we repeat those statements to our own children today.

Now there’s new information that provides more insight into why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – and it has to do with more than giving us the energy we need to get through the morning thinking clearly and performing at our best.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health has just been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The results found an association between skipping breakfast and a higher risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.

For their study the researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaires completed by 26,902 male health professionals aged between 45 and 82 years and tracked their health for 16 years from 1992 to 2008. The men were free of heart disease and cancer at the start of the study.

Over the follow-up, 1,572 men experienced non-fatal heart attacks or died of coronary heart disease. When they analyzed the data the researchers found men who said they did not have breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than men who said they ate breakfast. The men who said they skipped breakfast tended to be younger, single, smokers, who worked full time, did not do much exercise and drank more alcohol.

Researchers noted that the results suggest that eating habits may affect risk of coronary heart disease through pathways associated with traditional risk factors.

The study reinforces previous research and sends a message to make sure we don’t skip breakfast. Eating a healthy meal at the beginning of the day is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks.

FoodFacts.com knows that there are so many great ideas for a healthy breakfast from whole grain toast, to oatmeal to a good quality granola or organic cold cereal. We can add nuts, berries, bananas, peaches …or any other fruit. Breakfast is an easy meal to keep interesting and flavorful, without unhealthy ingredients. So let’s get creative for ourselves and our kids! And the next time we tell them that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we won’t just be helping them stay focused in school, we’ll be helping develop a habit that will help to keep their hearts healthy throughout their lives!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263775.php

Oatmeal now available at BK as a “healthier” option

burger-king-oatmeal
Foodfacts.com has reported on the trend of “healthier” options becoming marketed at major fast-food chains. McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, and Denny’s have all opted to add oatmeal to their menus in hopes of reaching a newer demographic of consumers. Burger King is now including oatmeal on their menu for just $1.99 in hopes of boosting revenue for the remainder of the year. Check out the article below to find out more on this new menu item!

Huffington PostOatmeal is the new burger.

Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, added oatmeal to its breakfast menu this week, joining a slew of other chains that have brought the hot cereal out of the cupboard and into restaurants and drive-thrus.
Click logo for Burger King products at blog.foodfacts.com!
Burger King says it is trying to offer customers a healthier breakfast option beyond its sausage croissant sandwiches and French toast dipping sticks. It’s also an attempt by the struggling chain to catch up to competitors and boost sagging sales by appealing to customers beyond its base of burger-and-fries fans.

“We are definitely looking to broaden our target and our audience,” said Leo Leon, vice president of global innovation for Burger King Corp.

Breakfast is becoming the most important meal of the day for restaurants – accounting for nearly 60 percent of traffic growth between 2005 and 2010. And oatmeal is the latest battleground. It’s low-cost, easily prepared and doesn’t spoil quickly. It also appeals to people who want quick, affordable food they perceive as healthier than the typical fast-food breakfast fare.
fruit-and-maple-oatmeal
Starbucks Corp., the world’s biggest coffee chain, said its $2.49 oatmeal has become its most popular breakfast item since it launched in 2008. Last year, McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest burger chain, added $2.99 oatmeal to its menu. Fast food chain Chick-fil-A and Denny’s casual dining restaurants also offer oatmeal, for $2.49 to 2.85 and 3.49 to 4.49, respectively. Burger King’s oatmeal, at $1.99, is the cheapest of the group.

Restaurants are trying to capitalize on oatmeal’s good-for-you reputation. But some industry experts say it’s not a good fit for fast-food chains.

McDonald’s has faced scrutiny for its oatmeal’s 4.5 grams of fat and 260 to 290 calories. That’s roughly equal to the number of calories in its own hamburger or cheeseburger. By comparison, Burger King’s oatmeal, which was created by Quaker Oats Co., has 110 to 270 calories and 1 to 4 grams of fat.

Still, Steve West, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, said: “People don’t go to Burger King or McDonald’s for their oatmeal … they go for an Egg McMuffin.”

For Burger King, oatmeal is part of a larger strategy. It’s critical for the chain to find a convenient new breakfast option. Burger King said 10 percent to 15 percent of its customers visit during breakfast. And the fast-food chain sells the majority of its food to go or at the drive-thru.

The company also is eager to replicate the success of McDonald’s, which has reinvented itself as a more hip and healthy place to eat, remodeling stores, offering wireless Internet service and introducing new salads, smoothies and coffee drinks. That’s brought in higher-income customers than the young males fast-food chains typically depend on – a demographic hit particularly hard by unemployment in the weak economy.

Burger King, based in Miami, has a lot of catching up to do. McDonald’s brought in more than $32 billion in U.S. sales last year, nearly four times Burger King’s $8.7 billion, according to research firm Technomic. That was a 4.4 percent increase for McDonald’s and a 2.5 percent decline for Burger King.

In the second quarter, Burger King’s profit fell 13 percent and its revenue fell 4 percent to $596.2 million, compared with a year earlier, due in large part to weakness in its North American operations. McDonald’s profit rose 15 percent and revenue grew 16 percent to $6.9 billion during its comparable period.

It’s going to take more than a hot meal to turn around Burger King’s business. Industry experts say the company has let its product lineup grow stale, and the quality of its stores has deteriorated.

“You can sell all the oatmeal and lattes and smoothies you want,” said West, the analyst. “But they’ve got to remodel the stores – for the most part Burger King stores are very old and rundown.”

Burger King, which has been reevaluating its business since it was acquired by investment firm 3G Capital last year, recently made other changes. The chain said Friday that it was retiring its mascot “The King” and launching a new campaign focused more on food. The company also added new salads and “Apple Fries” – apple slices cut to look like fries for its kids’ meals.