Cereal Lies (Plus What To Eat Instead)
You may recall a post I wrote the other week about the 8 foods people think are healthy, but aren’t. Well, I left breakfast cereals off the list for a reason. Not because they are healthy – but because I felt they deserved a whole post of their own. For something that is so heavily marketed as health food, and a healthy way to start the day, breakfast cereals couldn’t be more of a scam – and I’m not just talking about Froot Loops and Coco Pops. Even the types that are covered in health claims are completely full of crap.
I rarely go into Woolworths anymore. In fact, the only thing we buy there is toilet paper and toothbrushes. But I was on a mission the other day in the cereals aisle. I was blown away by the amount of options available, and if I had genuinely been there to buy breakfast food I would have seriously been confused. Everything from “high protein”, “high fibre”, “low fat”, “cholesterol control”, “omega 3”, “antioxidants” and “essentials for women” was being screamed at me via the brightly coloured cardboard boxes. Anyone would think they’ve hit the nutrition jackpot with the promise of receiving all of those benefits from one bowl of cereal. However this is a case where the claims are too good to be true. As other shoppers browsed the shelves, trying to work out whether they needed extra antioxidants, extra protein, or extra weight loss, I had to bite my tongue and I admit that there was some judgement (just a little). What I really wanted to do was tell them that they were choosing between different flavours of sugar and steer them towards the real rolled oats (not the Quick Oats sitting alongside Special K).
In case you have not conducted this experiment for yourself just yet, here are some of the worst offenders trying to pull a fast one on health seeking shoppers.
The claim: High protein, high fibre, 99% fat free
What’s really in it: Rice (25%), sugar, wheat bran (15%), maize flour, wheat gluten, whole wheat (6%), oat fibre, wheat flour, minerals (calcium carbonate, iron, zinc oxide), salt, molasses, flavour, barley malt extract, rosemary extract, vitamins (vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, folate).
Uncle Tobys PLUS Essentials for Women
The claim: Boosted with 5 essential nutrients for women (antioxidants A & E, fibre, iron, calcium and folate) with the delicious taste of pomegranates and 97% fat free.
What’s really in it: Wholegrains (61%) (wheat, oats), sugar, corn, sultanas (6%), pomegranate pieces (pomegranate juice 1%), apple puree concentrate, elderberry juice concentrate, invert sugar, glycerin, sugar, wheat fibre, pectin, food acid (citric), flavour, rice flour, minerals (calcium, iron, zinc), partially reconstituted pomegranate juice (1%), partially reconstituted berry juice (1%) (strawberry juice, elderberry juice), maize starch, salt, flavours (wheat), vegetable oil, vitamins (niacin, E (soy), B1, B2, B6, A, Folate), emulsifier (471), food acid (citric), colour (carmine).
* The colour “carmine” is made from ground up beetles.
The claim: High in iron & B vitamins, high in fibre, wholegrain
What’s really in it: Wholegrain cereals (63%)(whole wheat, rolled oats), sultanas (17%), sugar, triticale (6%), dried apricot piece (3.5%)(dried apricot [preservative (220)], wheat flour, fructose, stabilisers [1422, 466], palm oil, humectant [glycerol], dextrose, wheat fibre, food acid [citric acid], natural flavour, colour [160e]), barley malt extract, salt, honey (0.1%), mineral (iron), vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, folate, thiamin).
Contains gluten containing cereals and sulphites.
The claim: 44% of your daily fibre intake.
What’s really in it: Wheat bran (85%), sugar, barley malt extract, salt, vitamins (riboflavin, folate, thiamin). (Natural source of iron, zinc and magnesium).
The claim: Low GI, longer lasting energy
What’s really in it: Wholegrain cereals (54%)(whole wheat, brown rice, rolled oats), corn (16%), fruit (13%)(sultanas, currants, dried apple), sugar, sliced almonds (2%), wheatgerm, invert sugar syrup, barley malt extract, salt, vitamins (vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate), mineral (iron), preservative (220).
The claim: 57% whole grains, 29% fruit
What’s really in it: Cereals (68%) (wheat flakes (wholegrain wheat, salt, malt barley extract)), cornflakes (maize, sugar, salt, malt barley extract, vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate), mineral (iron)), wheat bran (wheat bran, wheat flour, malt barley extract, sugar, dextrose, salt), puffed wheat), fruit (29%) (sultanas (vegetable oil), dried pineapple (9%) (pineapple, sugar, acid (citric), preservative (220)), dried papaya (6%) (papaya, sugar, acid (citric), preservative (220)), dried banana (4%), coconut, apple juice concentrate), sugar, maltodextrin, flavour, folate.
What’s the major problem here?
While these cereals market themselves as wholesome and healthy, they are actually processed, full of sugar, artificial flavours, and preservatives. These cereals, which claim to be made from whole grains, vitamins and minerals, contain up to 30% sugar.
Click here to read why sugar is so nasty.
You may think that you’re doing your body a favour by eating breakfast cereal because they all contain so many vitamins and minerals, but this is not true either. The vitamins and minerals listed are simply synthetic ingredients added to make the cereal “fortified”.
Want a solution? Here are some awesome breakfast alternatives:
Rye toast with nut butter
Rye toast with avocado
Make up your own cereal out of rolled oats, nuts, sultanas, coconut flakes, goji berries, bee pollen, and top with dairy-free milk
Sarah Britton’s The Real Deal Cereal
Homemade granola from The Best of This Life
Black rice porridge with coconut from Coconut and Quinoa
Quinoa oat porridge with warm almond milk and berries from Coconut and Quinoa
Chia breakfast porridge from The Alkaline Sisters
Spelt porridge from The Alkaline Sisters
Honey maca pancakes from Golubka
Have you been sucked in by the breakfast cereal con? What is your favourite healthy breakfast?
Positive affirmation for the day: Life supports me in everything I do.
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