Breakfast of Chumpions by Yisroel Goodman, PhD. ("Prefers to Have Donuts")

Most of our concerns about the health value of the food we eat stems from the famous saying "You are what you eat." In other words, don't subsist on donuts and beer unless your goal is to grow a self-rising belly and you enjoy giving mosquitos a hangover. Your health concerns should begin with the most important meal of the day - breakfast. Breakfast cereals are all full of vitamins, but they have enough calories to still taste good. What the cereal companies have done, is take the stuff kids like to eat but their mothers won't give to them for breakfast, (like chocolate-chip cookies and donuts), shrink them down to bite size and then sell these as cereal.

The logic is that donuts, because they are so big, can't be easily broken down by the body into useable parts, so they wind up as fat. If you shrink them down to tiny size, they become healthy. Naturally, it takes a lot more tiny donuts than large ones to satisfy you and the tiny donuts cost the cereal companies a lot less to make than the large ones. But by charging you the same price for each piece of cereal that you would pay for a regular donut, the cereal company forces you to control your appetite and thus your caloric intake. How altruistic!

In the spirit of the original rule of health, "you are what you eat", cereal companies have discovered that the shape of the cereal has something to do with its healthiness. Children who eat square cereals shaped like sofa cushions are apt to become couch potatoes, while children who eat flying-saucer shaped cereals have a better chance of growing up to be scientists.

Animal-shaped cereals have a high amount of cholesterol, which is why most were taken off the market. One company experimented with cereal shaped like money, hoping to raise a generation of economists who would help the government balance the budget. They abandoned this plan when too many children grew up to become competing cereal manufacturers. Now the shape of the cereal is chosen for its health benefits only. The various shapes of the cereal are scientifically designed to allow less to fill the box, which is healthier for the cereal company.

In grade school we learned that a healthy breakfast consists of four basic food groups. According to cereal manufacturers, these are:

1) chocolately, crunchy things which provide a high amount of brown and help develop tan complexions, brown eyes and hair

2) red, fruity things which provide a high amount of red and help red blood cells grow

3) white, crunchy things which provide a high amount of white and help white blood cells, bone and teeth grow

4) marshmallow bits which provide high profits and help cereal companies grow.

Since so many cereals contain these four essential food groups, it takes time to select the best one. A health-conscious shopper reads the panel on the side of each box and compares the vitamin level of each brand against the other. Some cereal companies thoughtfully provide a handy chart right on the box, comparing their brand against their competitor's. (Naturally, they choose which product they wish to compare with.) For example, let us check the chart on a box of Corn Slops (they used to be called Sugar Slops, before the cereal company decided that people don't want to know that there's sugar in the product).

Corn Slops (in 1 cup nonfat milk) Sugar (by itself)

Calories per serving 230 240

Serving size 1 oz 1 oz

Food Coloring (provides color) 5% 0%

Cardboard** (provides fiber) 35% 0%

Filler (provides profit) 50% 0%

Vitamin A-Z (from the milk) * *

Calcium (from the milk) *

Minerals * *

* less than 2% of the USDA minimum (actually less than .0001%)

** to help the environment, 80% recycled cardboard is used

INGREDIENTS: Sugar, cardboard, food coloring, artificial flavor, corn husks, 1/10 of 1% BHT for freshness, .0001 vitamins A-Z and some minerals (found naturally in the BHT) to fulfill minimal USDA requirements for calling this a cereal.

As you can see, a good breakfast consists of an ounce of cereal and a cup of nonfat milk. An even healthier breakfast consists of just the cup of nonfat milk. But if you're like me, you want a breakfast that is both healthy and filling. Since the experts recommend something high in grain, I suggest a donut and a can of beer.