Imagine you are walking down the cereal aisle… how do you feel?
Cereal dietary claims have been high in the media and advertising agenda. Blurred information regarding cereals as only “high sugar” and “high energy” options are misleading people to avoid eating cereal or skipping breakfast. Knowing what to look for in breakfast cereals is the key to unlocking the ‘crunchy bits’ and releasing your morning fuel.
Only 30% of Australians meet the recommended guidelines for (cereal) grains.
|The recommended serve of Grains for Healthy Adults is 4-6 per day|
|1 Serve of Grains (Cereals) = 500kj|
|– 1/2 Cup Cooked Porridge
– 2/3 Cup Wheat Cereal Flakes
– 1/4 Cup Muesli
The recommended serve of grains for healthy adults is 4-6 per day. One Serve of grains is roughly 500kj (119 calories). Studies have shown only 30% of Australians have met the recommended guidelines for (cereal) grains.
Remember, one serve of grains differentiates according to the type, as shown in the table.
An International Review Journal, published in 2014 on ‘The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base’ by Peter Williams shows the link of breakfast cereal consumption to positive health and wellbeing.
The review compared individuals who consumed wholegrain cereals for breakfast to those who did not.
- Individuals who consumed breakfast cereal had higher daily nutrient recommendations than those who did not consume breakfast cereal or “skipped” breakfast.
- Total wholegrain serves were higher
- With fortification of many cereals, vitamin and mineral daily intakes were achieved
‘The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption’ systematic review showed strong links with health benefits that included:
- Total energy from fat reported to be 3-4% lower
- Improved weight management and weight loss
- Total Basal Metabolic Rate (BMI) lower
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Improved glucose levels and maintenance
- 20 – 28% reduction in risk of death due to CVD
What about the types of cereal?
When choosing cereal, research shows, cereals based from oats, barley or psyllium portrayed improvements in daily recommended fibre intake, and supported positive total cholesterol levels, aiding in healthy bowel function.
The following 5 tips are fundamental to narrowing down some of the best quality cereal products, to ensure your lifestyle is balanced with all the right nutrients.
Five Key Tips When Cereal Hunting
- Nutritional Information Panel (NIP*)
*Look for values within these nutrient ranges
- Fibre >7g /100g
- Sugar <15 or 25g with fruit varieties /100g
- Fat <10g /100g
- Sodium <400mg /100g
- Ingredient List
The first three ingredients are what make the bulk of the product. Ensure the first ingredient has >50% wholegrain, such as oats.
- Nutrition Content Claims
Don’t be fooled by ‘low sugar’, ‘natural’, ‘wholegrain source’ or ‘high fibre’ claims. Always double check with the NIP* (refer to point 1), in case certain ingredients are replaced with higher amounts of something else like extra fat, sugar or energy.
Shows an overall rating of foods in comparison to similar food products (cereals). The higher the star, the better choice within cereal product varieties.
- High Fibre Varieties
Look for 50-100% oat, barley or psyllium based ‘wholegrain’ cereals.
Limit ‘Refined’ = Fibre is removed via the germ and bran layers
Choose ‘Wholegrain’ = All three layers remain, containing all essential fibre, vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.
Dietitian Wendy from WSLHD – “5 Top Cereal Picks”
- Traditional 100% Oats
- Uncle Toby’s Bran Plus
- Goodness Superfoods (see table below)
- Sanitarium Weetbix
- Kellogg’s Sultana Bran
Recent research also shows wholegrains and cereal fibre can help decrease risks of chronic diseases and achieve weight stability. Choosing wholegrain cereal options are;
- generally inexpensive, convenient & essential to a balanced and wholesome diet
Next time you’re having a serve of ‘breakfast (cereal) grains’ why not mix it up and make it your ‘own’, ‘unique’, ‘crunchy’ morning fuel!
Choose from the following ‘combos’ to add with your morning wholegrains…
- Classic Combo – Skim Milk & Cereal
- Alternate Combo – Almond, Soy, Coconut Milk Alternatives
- Extra Protein & Probiotics – Natural Plain Yoghurt / Kefir Yoghurt
- Daily Fruit Serve – Sliced Banana, Peaches, Apple, Berries
Remember, you have to ‘crunch’ all those ‘bits’ of information to find the right cereal for you.
Written by: Aimee Boidin – July 2016
(Photgraphy Boidin, A. (2016) [Photograhs], except where noted)