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Are grains healthy? The truth about added sugars

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Few American pantries are without a box or two of cereal. Cereal companies like Kellogg and General Mills have spent billions telling us for decades that Lucky Charms are “magically delicious,” that “Trix is ​​for kids,” and that Frosted Flakes are “gr-r-reat!”

Such marketing has undoubtedly paid off, as data collected by Google shows that the most purchased cereal brands in America include many of these favorites, plus a host of others such as Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Chex, Special K, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Froot Loops . and Cap’n Crunch. While these brands are undoubtedly appealing to adults and children alike due to their different flavors and colorful packaging, some cereals are definitely better for you to eat than others.

Are grains healthy?

Many brands of breakfast cereal can be healthy, especially if you add cow’s milk and a fruit or nut topping. Grains can also be a helpful way to rev up your metabolism and get much-needed nutrients and energy. And even though breakfast cereals don’t contain as many nutrients as a plate of eggs, fruit and whole wheat toast, for example something The morning is almost always better than not eating anything. Studies have shown time and time again that skipping breakfast does indeed have adverse health consequences.

“Cereals require minimal preparation, are shelf-stable, convenient, affordable and can be a great way to get some fiber in the morning,” says Leslie Bonci, sports dietitian for the Kansas City Chiefs and founder of Active Eating Advice. “Grains can also be a great way to get micronutrients and one of the best ways to ensure B vitamin intake is included in your diet.” Some grains can also be a good source of whole grains.

At the same time, “cereals made from refined grains — grains from which parts of the grain have been removed — contain less fiber and nutrients,” says Kate Zeratsky, a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Other information about the breakfast diet: Are eggs good for you? Egg yolks versus egg whites and how much protein is in your eggs?

Is it okay to eat cereal every day?

The biggest concern associated with eating a large serving of cereal is that many brands contain significant amounts of added sugar. The daily limit of added sugars is 50 grams (about 12 teaspoons) per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some cereal brands come in one bowl. For example, Post’s Golden Crisp cereal contains 21 grams of added sugar in one cup – almost half of what an adult gets for an entire day, and many of us eat at least two cups of cereal in one bowl without realizing it.

Of course, that doesn’t matter if your breakfast cereal is where you choose to get your added sugar every day, but you may want to ask yourself whether you want it in your cereal or if you would rather have a treat later in the day. Zeratsky offers.

It is also worth noting that added sugar suggestions are less suitable for children, despite children being often the marketing target of cereal companies. “The recommended amount of added sugar per day for children is 6 teaspoons, or about 25 grams total,” says Bonci.

NB: Too much added sugar in your diet can be dangerous. This should be your daily limit.

What is the healthiest breakfast cereal?

If you’re trying to choose the healthiest breakfast cereal for your family, “look at the nutrition label on the side of the package to see how much added sugar there is and what vitamins and minerals it contains,” Bonci advises.

For example, a single serving of Cheerios contains 10% to 20% of your daily intake needs for B vitamins and vitamins A, C and D. Plus 10% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 20% of your daily recommended amount of calcium. zinc and 70% of your daily recommended amount of iron. And it only contains 1 gram of added sugars. Rice Krispies similarly contain many of the same nutrients and contain only 4 grams of added sugar.

Grains that are good sources of dietary fiber and whole grains include Grape Nuts, Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Wheaties, Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran and Special K.

Cereal brands that still contain some natural and fortified nutrients but also contain between 12 and 18 grams of added sugar in a single serving include Honey Smacks, Frosted Flakes, Cap’n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles .

When choosing a cereal, Zeratsky suggests aiming for one with added sugars “in the single digits – the lower the better,” and finding brands that contain key nutrients. “Choose cereals made with whole grains, as these can be good sources of fiber and complex carbohydrates,” she says, “together, fiber and complex carbohydrates can lead to a feeling of sustained energy.”