So there we are standing in the supermarket aisle repeating the mantra in our heads ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day!’ and so we are there looking at the vast array of breakfast cereals not knowing where to start.

‘The sunshine cereal, made form wholesome corn, oats, rice and wheat. Fortified with vitamins and minerals, forming part of your balance diet’………well that sound like a winner doesn’t it!?

For decades we have been told that a bowl of cereal is the healthiest way to start the day – what they have failed to mention is the large amounts of sugar pumped into these cereals by the manufacturers.

Which? Revealed some shocking results after an investigation into 50 breakfast cereals and their contents. They have said that some of the cereals we are lead to believe to be the ‘healthiest’ are in fact packed full of sugar to the extent that they would be better suited alongside biscuits in the confectionary aisle, here are a few Cereal Nutrition Facts:

Percentage Of Sugars in Common Cereals

Kellogg’s Frosties 37% sugar
Tesco Choco Snaps 36% sugar
Sugar Puff’s 35% sugar
Kellogg’s Cocoa Pops 35% sugar
Kellogg’s Honey Nut Loops 34% sugar
Dorset Cereals 29.7% sugar
Weetabix Minis Fruit & Nut 23.3% sugar
Kellogg’s All-Bran Bran Flakes 22% sugar
Ready Brek Honey 20.4% sugar
Kellogg’s Rice Krispes 18% sugar

The Food Standards Agency considers a sugar contents above 15% to be high – all of these cereals are above that amount and the top 5 are more than double!

A recent article in the highly respected journal Nature, claims that excess sugar in our diet contributes to 35 million deaths a year Worldwide.
It is scientifically recognized and accepted that eating too much sugar increase our chances of suffering Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer and Liver problems.

“It not only makes people fat but also changes the body’s metabolism, raises blood pressure, throw hormones off balance and harms the liver” The Toxic Truth About Sugar.

The problem with high sugar foods is that they give you a sudden rush of fuel, which is broken down very quickly during digestion – this gives us a surge of energy but then very quickly slumps, which created a craving for more sugar. This means, more often than not, by 11am we are feeling hungry again. If we replace our sugary cereals for a more sustainable breakfast of plain yoghurt with fruit and nuts, we won’t have the sugar intake and therefore we won’t have the sugar crash at 11am which leaves us craving more food.

As the consumer we are being ‘tricked’ into believing we are being healthy. What with packaging emblazoned with ‘LOW FAT’ & ‘PACK WITH VITAMINS & MINERALS’ who can blame us. But all these statements are doing is distracting us from the sugar (and salt!) content of their products. Wheat, rice and grains are by nature low in fat, but they are also pretty tasteless – hence the sugary addition. Yes, they have added some vitamin and minerals along the manufacturing process, but all of these – in higher measures – can be found naturally in things like meat and eggs. Just because something is ‘low in fat’ doesn’t mean that its diet friendly!

The Healthy Breakfast Option

Healthy Bowl of CerealA genuinely healthy start to the day would include, poached or boiled eggs which provide every major vitamin you need apart from vitamin C. Porridge is a delicious and healthy way to wake up in the morning – especially those cold winter mornings! Or alternatively, wholemeal toast with butter (not margarine), unsweetened yoghurt mixed with fresh fruit and a handful of nuts. You will experience and new found energy you never knew you had!

And remember – take notice of the labels on the food you choose, they make it difficult on purpose so try and take the time to really undertand what your looking at. Reading the ‘per 100g’ ingredient content makes it much easier to directly compare different products next to each other. And remember that anything over 15% sugar content is deemed as being HIGH!

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