Breakfast cereals are a common breakfast food, but are they really the best choice for giving us energy and getting us through the day?
Not really. And yet they are a food that a large majority of people eat. This occurs for two different reasons:
- Marketing – breakfast foods have been marketed to us as breakfast foods so we naturally associate them with the food we are meant to eat at the beginning of the day.
- Convenience – now that’s just human nature and we are often busy in the mornings so convenience is important to us.
But are we really doing ourselves a dis-service by eating these foods? In this podcast we share some of the marketing scams, the nutritional data, and some interesting facts about breakfast cereals that I’m sure you will enjoy.
Download the podcast here
10 Top Cereals 2013 in the US
- General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
- Kellogs frosted flakes
- Posts honey bunches of oats
- General Mills cheerios
- General Mills cinnamon toast crunch – kids brand
- Kellogs diabetic brand special K
- Kellogs frosted mini wheats
- General Mills lucky charms – kids brand
- Kellogs fruit loops – kids brand
- Kellogs raison bran. Source
Childrens Cereal Stats 2012 AUS
- more than half of the cereals reviewed had low fibre content
- 9 out of 10 of the most sugary cereals reviewed were all childrens cereals.
- 30 of the kids cereals they reviewed were high in sugar with m0re than 15g per 100g serve
- 4 of the eight saltiest cereals were also kids cereals containing 600mg+ per 100g. Source
Interesting Facts About Breakfast Cereals
Before we do any comparisons first we need to set the bar. So here’s the minimum requirements we’ll be looking for:
- 15g or less in sugars per 100g
- 25g or less if the cereal contains some kind of dried fruit
- 400mg or less of sodium per 100g
- A low salt cereal is classified as 120mg or less per 100g
- More than 10g fibre per 100g
In the podcast we talk about 2 cereals, General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios and Kellogs Nutrigrain.
Below you will see their marketing material along with the nutritional data.
General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
In a 112g serve we have:
- 440 calories
- 6g fat
- 640mg sodium
- 88g carbs
- 8g fibre
- 36g sugar
- 44g other carbs
- 8g protein
Less than desireable ingredients: Whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, modified corn starch, honey, brown sugar syrup, salt, tripotassium phosphate, canola and/or rice bran oil, natural almond flour, and then their long line of ADDED vitamins and minerals. Source
Does this measure up as a healthy breakfast option? No way! Almost 1/3 sugar content and 132g carbs, high sodium, low fibre and low protein. In my opinion that’s no way to start the day and yet it’s the most popular cereal in the US.
Notice on the box that the marketing claims it “Can Help Lower Cholesterol”.
When I first researched this for the podcast there were a few questions around this statement and I couldn’t find their justification to this claim. After digging a bit harder I did find the link to their health section. You can read that here if you like, though I can’t say I was overly convinced by their claim and still don’t understand how food companies are allowed to get away with this sort of marketing claim when there is little to back it. It’s totally misleading to consumers.
In a 100g serve:
- 360 calories
- 20g protein
- 3g fibre
- 0.8g fat
- 32g sugar
- 600mg sodium
Ingredients: Cereals (44%)(wheat flour, oatmeal, maize flour), sugar, wheat gluten, molasses, salt, minerals (calcium carbonate, iron), barley malt extract, mineral salt (sodium bicarbonate), natural colour (paprika, turmeric), vitamins (vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate). Source
Marketed as the ‘Iron Man Fuel’ and promoted as a breakfast food to fuel sport, this cereal really doesn’t measure up to it’s claims and I certainly wouldn’t be feeding it to my children and I’m pretty sure athletes don’t eat it regularly either!
So what about healthy breakfasts? We’ll be covering that topic in a future podcast. Sign up here to receive my newsletter update about it.
Nutrition & Health Coach
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