Ah, sugar—our taste buds can’t get enough of it, but our bodies are better off without it. Although there’s no denying the joy of treating yourself to a bit of sweetness every now and then, consuming too much sugar on a regular basis can put your overall health at risk and should be avoided as much as possible if you’re looking to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy metabolism.

And while processed, sugary foods are never a great idea, they can be especially detrimental to your health if you eat them for breakfast, as they typically lack the fuel your body needs to take on the day and will lead to blood sugar spikes later on. In fact, there’s one sugary breakfast food that health experts warn you should avoid at all costs: breakfast cereal.

To learn more about the health risks of regularly chowing down on sugary cereal, we spoke to health experts Dana Hunnes, PhD, dietitian and author of Recipe For Survival, and Varsha Khatri, nutritional therapist from Illuminated Health. They broke down the downsides to this deviously delicious meal, from blood sugar spikes to a slowed metabolism. Find it all below!

Breakfast cereal

Few breakfasts are as quick and convenient (and tasty) as a bowl of cereal. Who could possibly turn down a bowl of sugary goodness that takes seconds to pour? Unfortunately, though, if you’re trying to lose weight (or just keep your overall health in check), kicking your cereal habit may be necessary. Hunnes tells us that “things like Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs, and Frosted Flakes” are “made with little (if any) whole grains, and have a lot of added sugars in them,” making them a terrible choice for breakfast.

Khati concurs, noting that “cereals are one of the most high-sugar foods.” And if you think you’re off the hook by choosing boxes that seem healthier or are labeled as low-sugar, you may be wrong. “Even cereals that are supposedly ‘low-sugar’ are in fact high in added sweeteners,” she warns. Say it ain’t so!

So, what are the dangers of eating a high-sugar breakfast food like cereal? For one, your blood sugar will likely spike, which will lead to increased sugar cravings later in the day. Khatri explains this: “When you start your day with anything that is high in sugar/sweetener, you are more likely to crave sugar or other sweet foods throughout the day, which means you are more likely to snack just to maintain blood sugar levels.” We all know that processed sugar is no good for your overall health—and it’s especially bad if you want to shed a few pounds.

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