April – Day 18

Cereal – Good or Bad?

Hey All! A member of a previous group asked a great question about cereal. It fits in well with the Day 13 post about shopping the perimeter. She asked specifically about Rice Chex, but this could apply to just about any box from the cereal aisle.

The first thing that struck me is that Rice Chex has six ingredients and two of those are sugar (sugar, molasses). Not only that, but the other main ingredients are also highly processed carbohydrates (whole grain rice, rice). Many would say, “but it’s whole grain rice!” Do you see any “whole” rice in the cereal, though, when you pour a bowl? My guess is “no,” which means they are highly processed. To our bodies, anything that’s highly processed might as well be sugar. There is very little fat or protein in those tasty little Chex, which means that 80+% of the calories come from sugar and processed carbohydrates.

Notice that the vitamins and minerals are listed like ingredients. This means they are added in and not actually coming from the “food.” You can bet they are not using the highest quality supplements when they do this. The Nutrition Facts label lists what has been added, but that does not mean that is how much your body is going to actually use.

Rice Chex are not the worst I’ve looked at. Many cereals contain considerably more sugar, vegetable oils, natural & artificial colors and flavors and preservatives…all of which we want to keep to a minimum.

I hope this added clarity around why I think cereal (and any similarly processed food) is “crap”. You now have some more info and can choose accordingly.

Do I think an occasional bowl of Chex will kill you? No. I just think they are a slippery slope. If cereal is ok then what about bread, donuts, bagels etc…and then ketchup, dressings, ice cream and on and on…and before you know it your routine is again filled with sugars and low quality vegetable oils.

You have made amazing strides and I want to see you continue to move forward.

And if you really dig a bowl of cereal in the morning, how about one of these healthier substitutes?

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (slow-cooked, they take about 25 minutes on the stove), served with coconut milk & fresh fruit
  • White or brown rice or quinoa, cooked, cooled & served with non-dairy milk, a hint of honey, spices, and fruit
Remember to comment on this post & share your experiences!

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