The kopitiam breakfast: Healthy? Or not really?

PHOTO: The kopitiam breakfast: Healthy? Or not really?

Believe it: Kaya toast, eggs and coffee can be a mighty healthy breakfast.


Eggs. Soft-boiled. 'Nuff said. If you're still not eating quality protein like eggs - they're one of the most complete proteins around, with nine essential amino acids, says nutritionist Teo Kiok Seng from Nutritionist Network Services - you're missing out.

Eggs can help you shed kilos. Having some protein for breakfast can keep you fuller throughout the day, as it gets digested more slowly than carbohydrates.

Eggs also provide a whole gamut of vitamins (A, D, E, riboflavin, folic acid and choline, among others) and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium).

Also, soft-boiled eggs have less oil and fat, compared to fried eggs.

Still, they are high in cholesterol. An average egg yolk contains enough to make up two-thirds of our recommended daily intake (300mg).

It pays to limit your egg consumption to around three to five a week, advises Kiok Seng.


Toasted white bread smothered in kaya and butter is the undisputed star, but it isn't the healthiest.

For starters, white bread is made of processed wheat flour, in which the bran and germ of the wheat grain has been removed, stripping the final product of numerous vitamins and minerals, says Kiok Seng.

"The germ and bran provide fibre, vitamins B and E, and minerals like iron, zinc and protein," she explains.

What's worse, because of the lack of fibre, white bread gets absorbed more quickly, causing a blood-sugar spike, followed by a quick drop. The result: You get hungry quickly. For such a breakfast, while kaya isn't that bad (1.5g fat per tablespoon), ask for less butter (10g fat per tablespoon).


Kopi can make you run faster. Australian researchers found that even a small amount of caffeine allows athletes to exercise for longer periods, says Kiok Seng.

What's more, caffeine can help you shed flab by priming your muscles to begin using fat as an energy source rather than carbohydrates. "A single cup of coffee may be enough to trigger these beneficial effects," she says.

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