Cereals. Are they Healthy?

With all the marketing talk on cereals, no wonder people are confused! While cereals are a convenient way to start your day – they may not be the best.  Since breakfast is your most important meal, lets learn how to dissect what you are eating!

TV commercials are full of marketing claims – you know the ones I mean…there are cartoon characters dancing around with cereals that are basically straight sugar claiming that they are now whole grain, and a good source of vitamins and minerals.  While this may be true, how did they actually get the cereal this way. Well, they stripped the grain of all its nutrition, and then added sugar, colourings, additives and vitamins and minerals. I don’t know about you, but when I enter my common sense corner wouldn’t you rather eat something that hasn’t been that processed?

Sure you may be getting those vitamins and minerals but what else are you getting, and what about the sugar?

If you want a vibrant life, it is not going to come from eating, low nutrient based food.

So, what should you look for.

Sugar – even though your cereal is claiming that it has vitamins, minerals, and fibre how much sugar are you getting. In our opinion to be considered a healthy cereal it should contain less than 9g sugar/serving.

Also – what form of sugar are you eating. Things that contain high fructose corn syrup should be avoided where better sugars include organic cane juice/sugar, brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave.

Fibre – Make sure that your cereal contains between 3-5g of fibre per serving and if doesn’t…add some. Flax is a great source of fibre amoung other things.  Grind it and add 2tbsp to your favourite cereal. Fibre can slow down the absorption of these blood sugars, so if your favourite cereal is higher in sugar than it should be, adding extra fibre can balance this out.

Sodium – Low sodium foods are considered to have less than 140-200mg of sodium per serving.

Fats – some cereals are still adding toxic fats to their cereals. Watch for things on the label like hydrogenated or modified fats. Avoid these at all costs.

Add things that are ALIVE to your breakfast. Berries contain some of the highest sources of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and taste great on your cereal. By adding 2tbsp of flax and ½ cup of berries to a healthier cereal you are doing a great service to your health!

Check out our upcoming newsletter to see how you can supercharge your breakfast cereal!!

Here is an example of a poor label, and a better label.  See if you can apply what you have learned!!

Which label is better and why?

Label #1

INGREDIENTS:
soy grits, seven whole grains and sesame cereal (hard red winter wheat, long grain brown rice, whole grain oats, triticale, barley, rye, buckwheat, sesame seeds), evaporated cane juice syrup, corn meal, corn flour, soy protein, wheat bran, oat hull fibre, corn bran, honey, evaporated cane juice, natural flavours, calcium carbonate, salt, annatto colour. Contains soy, wheat and sesame ingredients.

Sugar – 9g/serving
Fibre 5g/serving
Sodium 95g/serving

Label #2

INGREDIENTS:
whole wheat, raisins, wheat bran, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, malt flavoring, vitamins and minerals: niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin b1), vitamin a palmitate, folic acid, vitamin b12 and vitamin d.

Sugar 19g/serving
Fibre 7g/serving
Sodium 350mg/serving

Answer – Better Choice – Label 1

Why? – less sugar, better sugar choice (evapourated cane juice instead of high fructose corn syrup), less sodium.

Now go out and use this knowledge to help make healthier choices everyday, and Stay Vibrant!

7 thoughts on “Cereals. Are they Healthy?

  1. Dr. Walsh, can you recommend some brands of cereal? I’m currently on a no-grains modification, but when I do get back on grains, I want to stick with whole grains only. I used to buy the Kashi cereal, but it always tasted too sweet…I wonder if they coated the grains in syrups and sugars.

    Thanks!

  2. Hi Dena – the kashi cereals are great, the crunch is a little higher in sugar but the others are good. There are also other plain cereals in the health food section of the grocery store…like millet and amaranth.
    Also – stay tuned to our newsletter as we will be giving you healthy options you can make at home

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