Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Much Sugar is in Your Cereal? You Might Be Surprised!

We all want to get in and out of the grocery store. We have our list, we know what's in each aisle, and we scout the lines looking for the shortest one. Unfortunately all of this rushing around means we're probably not spending any time reading the nutrition labels on the back of the boxes we're purchasing. Here are some reasons to make you want to start!

Consumer Reports' nutrition ratings report (November 2008 issue) found that some popular cereals marketed to children are 40-50% sugar, comparable to a glazed doughnut. Considering that most children eat more than the standard serving size (1 cup), your child may be consuming much more than you've bargained for.

The report compares the nutrition information of 27 leading cereals, giving each cereal a rating of "very good," "good" or "fair." Only four of the 27 cereals were rated "very good" – General Mills' Cheerios (at the top of the list), Kix and Honey Nut Cheerios, and Quaker Oats' Life. With regard to sugar content, Post's Golden Crisp and Kellogg's Honey Smacks were rated "fair," with more than 50 percent sugar by weight per serving, and nine other cereals were determined to have at least 40 percent sugar. Kellogg's Rice Krispies, long considered a relatively healthy cereal with little sugar, rated only "fair" due to high sodium content and zero grams of dietary fiber. The report suggests parents look for cereals high in fiber (5 grams or more), low in sodium (140 milligrams or less) and low in sugar (1 teaspoon or less per serving).

On a related note, a friend of mine who is a registered dietician told me that she sprinkles milled flax seed on her cereal every morning. The benefits? Flax seed is known for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as both soluble and insoluble fiber. Also, flax seeds have been proven to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, decrease inflammatory processes in the body, and promote well being in the intestines. Flax seed is perhaps our best source of lignans, which balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

We need milled flax seed because only then can your body absorb its nutrients. An actual flax seed will pass right through our digestive tract. Of course, if you have any food allergies please consult your doctor before consuming. The upside is that Hodgson Mill (the brand I buy) is gluten free and wheat free! http://www.hodgsonmill.com/roi/673/Naturally-Gluten-Free-Products/Brown-Milled-Flax-Seed-01015.htm

The biggest benefit I've found from adding milled flax seed to my cereal and eating cereals high in fiber (and low in sugar and sodium) is a decrease in bloating in my belly. I know many of you ask me how to get rid of that and, combined with our favorite abs exercises, proper nutrition is key to decrease the belly pouch.

Now it's your turn! What are your favorite cereals? This is your time to share with the Body by Kelly community and check back for comments to get ideas for new cereals to try!

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Well, my absolute FAVORITE cereal is multi-grain cheerios - I bought it thinking it would be healthy and taste okay, but it tastes GREAT! You'll be shocked. AND it's supersuper good for you, low cal, etc... And If I'm craving carbs and chocolate, haha, I'll empty out a 60 cal jello chocolate pudding in a small bowl and put in some of these cheerios - and have exactly what I want, with around 150 calories!

I also like honey bunches of oats, but that is a higher cal option (and was my go-to cereal BEFORE i found multi-grain cheerios).