Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do Yourself a Favour--Avoid the Cereal Aisle

I had some friends ask me why I don’t eat breakfast cereal anymore (or very rarely). I always thought breakfast cereal was a healthy choice to start my day, but once I learned how these flakes, puffs and O’s were made, I thought twice about pouring myself a bowl of cheerios (yes, even plain ones!)

Let me start by saying that breakfast cereals are marketed very well, but their advertising claims hold little truth. If you really want a breakfast that is heart healthy or high in fiber and nutrients look for food that is closer to its natural form.

Have you ever wondered how they turn corn into Corn flakes, or rice into Rice Krispies? Breakfast cereals are made from the extrusion process, which is basically pushing the raw materials through a hole to make it into a certain shape. However, in order to do this the grains are subjected to high temperatures and high pressures which destroys many nutrients, causes oils to go rancid, makes some proteins toxic and makes it harder to digest (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg. 454) Since they basically destroy the nutrition in the process, they add-in synthetic vitamins/nutrients as well as lots of sugar and flavoring. Another interesting yet scary tidbit is that breakfast cereals have caused rapid death in test animals (Fallon, p. 25, 468-469) but Kellogg’s won’t tell you that!

Since breakfast cereal is highly refined and most varieties contain a lot of added sugar, they are high on the Glycemic Index (GI) and cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly. A GI above 70 is considered high. Let’s look at a few well-known ones: Cheerios (74), Golden Grahams (71), Special K (72) Bran Flakes (74) (values taken from

A better breakfast alternative is traditional oatmeal. Not the little sugar-laden packages that you add water or micro, and not even quick-oats, but good old-fashioned rolled oats. They are better for your health, but also for your budget as they are a fraction of the price. See the recipe and ways to spice up your oatmeal!


Rachel said...

Will you post on your blog for every question I ask??? :) I think you'll have a lifetime of posts from the number of questions I ask!

This information is very informative. We'll definitely be looking into oatmeal!