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Rethinking Breakfast For People With IBS

Updated: Apr 30

Rethinking Breakfast 

In 1910, Quaker Oat Company came out with several cereal options, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that cereals became popular. Today, there are over 1,000 variations of breakfast cereals worldwide. The Environmental Working Group tested over 84 popular brands in the United States and found that most cereals contain too much sugar, sodium, and other harmful chemicals. Breakfast cereals are sugar-filled, highly processed, nutrient-poor, “food-like substances” created to increase the consumers' drive to crave more. Have you ever noticed you can’t just have one bowl? You overeat, and hunger quickly strikes again. 

Do you suffer from IBS? One root cause of IBS is too much sugar because it causes inflammation in the gut lining as well as throughout the body. If you were to take one simple step to eliminate your IBS today, change what you eat for breakfast. 

If you are someone who eats cereal most mornings, it’s time to rethink how you start your day with food. You need to find a breakfast(break your fast) made from whole foods(not a “franken-food” like cereal), which is delicious and will hold you well into the afternoon. 

Hang tight, and I will explain why even organic cereals are not a healthy option and what a healthy breakfast looks like. You will be surprised how simple these alternatives are to cook.

Cereal Is A Carbohydrate, Not An Essential Nutrient 

Did you know carbohydrates are not essential nutrients? You don’t need them to survive. Yet, the standard American diet is 50%-60% carbohydrates, most of which comes from refined starch and sugar. Breakfast cereals are primarily carbohydrates filled with other chemicals. Yet, marketing from cereal companies makes you think you are starting your day with a healthy option! Instead, it spikes your blood sugar, and insulin stores this sugar into disease-causing belly fat! 

Yes, organic cereals are healthier than chemical-filled, sugar-filled non-organic. But these cereals are full of “whole grains,” which sounds healthier, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, “whole grains” spike your blood sugar more than table sugar, leading to the same vicious cycle as other carbohydrates, driving your body to release insulin and store excess blood glucose as belly fat.

Eat More Fat, Fiber, and Protein For Breakfast 


In the previous blog, we discussed how eating healthy fat (containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids) not only curves your appetite but also speeds up your metabolism, increases fat metabolism, and improves brain function. Look at the previous blog for further discussion on which fats to eat and which to avoid. Eating more fat at breakfast will increase satiety, keeping you satisfied well into the afternoon. 


Environmental Working Group recommends choosing organic cereal with fewer chemicals and less sugar, claiming it is high in fiber and, therefore, healthy. I would go one step further and say whether organic or not, cereal is NOT a good option for breakfast, as I explained above. Yes, you need to eat a high-fiber diet, but not one made up of whole grains. Eating whole foods daily with three or more cups of vegetables, a handful of nuts and seeds, and some fruit will give you all the fiber your body needs without spiking your blood sugar. 


Starting at age 30, we begin to lose muscle mass, one of the critical accelerators of aging and disease, according to Dr. Mark Hyman's book, Young Forever. Loss of muscle mass eventually leads to increased weakness(think of difficulty getting out of a chair), disability, increased hospitalizations, and immobility. The best type of protein comes from animal protein. You can get protein from plants, but it’s lower quality and has fewer key amino acids. 

Savory Versus Sweet For Breakfast 

Eating more protein, fat, and fiber will give you the energy and strength to make it to the next meal. You might be asking yourself, if I can’t have cereal, what the heck do I eat? I know that feeling! I had the same reaction when I started my health journey. Think of having dinner for breakfast or savory versus sweet. Here are some of my favorite options for breakfast. 

Here is a quick, easy recipe for the morning with a prep time of 2 minutes and a cook time of six minutes. This recipe is full of protein and fiber. Notice this recipe calls for 2 cups of spinach. I love it! Remember you need at least 3 cups of vegetables daily; this recipe gives you an excellent start. I would add sliced avocado to this dish for more flavor and fat. 

This dish is easy, with a prep time of 5 minutes and a cook time of 15 minutes! It has plenty of protein with the eggs and fat from coconut milk and avocado.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable known to help detoxify the body, and you should get 2-3 cups of cruciferous vegetables daily. This recipe is an excellent start for your day! I would add more protein, egg or sausage, and avocado, a great source of healthy fat and flavor. 

If you are yearning for a traditional pancake breakfast, here is one I recommend, but with a few changes. 1) Use coconut milk instead of almond milk for more fat. 2) Skip the maple syrup. Remember, we are trying to eliminate sugar from breakfast, and these pancakes are delicious without the added sugar. 

In summary, if you suffer from IBS, eliminating cereals and eating a breakfast made from whole foods filled with protein, fat, and fiber is a simple change to help significantly relieve your symptoms.

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