Cereal: The good the bad and the ugly.

Cereal: The good the bad and the ugly.


Bircher muesli, Granola, Diet flakes with dried fruit, what’s your choice? So many fashionable breakfasts whether you eat at home or in your favourite cafe.  Brown packaging, inviting graphics and upmarket prices make the cereal isle a whole new shopping experience. Unlike the revival of the good ol’ salad for lunch, healthy breakfasts are becoming boring and poshed up sugary cereal is king. When was the last time you ordered natural yoghurt and banana topped with brazil nuts and oats for your cafe breakfast?

yoghurt oats breakfast

Let’s look at a household favourite Granola and see what is really inside.

Looking at the nutritional information, granola sadly has as much sugar and fat as in a lot of confectionary, and not many of us would dare eat a chocolate bar for breakfast. As you can see, the granola in my cupboard is 20% syrup and only 56% oats. When comparing this to say shredded wheat or porridge which is sugar free and just oats/wheat, you can see granola is not the healthiest choice. Does it matter?

Actually yes, breakfast choices do matter. We need a supply of slow releasing energy without a dental bill. The amount of sugar consumed correlates directly with dental caries (thats fillings and decay to us) according to research. So starting the day with sugar isn’t ideal and certainly for kids we really need to be cautious. If we can eat a sugar free breakfast for many people thats a couple of spoonfuls of sugar less in one go.

Breakfast kick starts our metabolism and sets us up for the day, and another really important aspect is fibre as cereal contributes greatly to our fibre intake. Fibre helps with bowel health, so making sure we have enough fibre is really important. There is a good amount of fibre in granola and other sugary cereals, but the benefit of the fibre is in my opinion outweighed by the sugar hit you’ll get first thing in the morning. We really need slow releasing energy to keep our energy levels steady across the morning, so choosing the right breakfast can make a big difference to our school and workplace performance. If you are trying to lose weight or suffer from metabolic syndrome, it is essential to choose a sugar free breakfast to make sure you keep your blood sugar as steady as possible.

whats in granola

In short, naughty cereal is fine as a treat, but even in the fanciest box, organic or local, it’s still sugary and not to be confused with healthy options. There are a few excellent less processed options which are often basic low cost commodities such as sugar free muesli, porridge or shredded wheat. If you find them tasteless alone why not top them with sugar free yoghurt and slices of banana? Stuck for breakfast ideas full of nutrition? Try wholemeal toast or cracker bread with smoked mackerel and some sliced tomatoes and cucumber.. in Scandinavia fish for breakfast is the norm, and provides essential fatty acids, energy and fibre… some food for thought!

Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts! Comment below!

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