Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Truth About Breakfast Cereals

Ah! here's my own modified BIG RIP BOWL from the Engine 2 diet! SO DELICIOUS! argh!Here's what I put in it: 

1/4 cup Ezekiel 4:9 almond
1/4 cup Uncle Sam Cereal
1/4 cup raw old fashioned oats
1 sliced kiwi
1/3 of sliced bananas
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
2 tsb walnuts (had to crack them myself with a crowbar on my kitchen floor! LOL)
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp flax seeds
1/3 cup blueberries
1 raspberry
2/3 cup of almond milk

But here is the complete list of ingredients in the Engine 2's "BIG RIP BOWL"

1/4 cup raw old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup Grape Nuts or Ezekiel brand equivalent
1/4 cup bite-size shredded wheat
1/4 cup Uncle Sam cereal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 banana, sliced
1 kiwi, sliced
Segments of one grapefruit and juice
¾ cup milk substitute of choice

Notice how the cereals with refined sugars and artificial ingredients are decorated with vibrant colours and appear to be much more festive than the "healthier" section of cereal aisle? Hmm.. I wonder what Trix and KiX is trying to distract you from perhaps their poor list of ingredients?

So I usually never really crave cereal, but I was watching the movie "engine 2" from the makers of forks over knifes and they were talking about breakfast cereals so I went on boight a box of ezekiel cereal :). Did you know that most cereals are practically just a big bowl of sugar?  Don't be fooled by Special K. Even the ones that says "now made with whole grain" could be a trick.  The Special K Blueberry cereal was one of my all time favorites! And I actually thought I was doing my body a favor by solely eating that in the mornings! 

I'm sure most of us have seen the Special K commercials. It promotes having a small waist line and that its super healthy and much better than any other cereal out there.  Unfortunately, just like many other cereals out there it's all sugar.. :( and man made chemicals. Have you ever stopped and checked the back of your cereals beyond how many grams of fats, fibre, protein and carbs?  So lets take this Special K label for example, ok so  90 calories, great, 2g of fat that's ok, only 85 mg of sodium okay that's good, 7g of sugar... Hmmm probably from the blueberries you would think, 3g of fibre that's pretty okay right ? Sounds reasonable? So you put it in your shopping cart and you move on to the next aisle.  Unfortunately, it's not how many calories or fat the cereal has that matters, it is WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN IT that matters the most! Lets compare the Special K label vs Ezekiel 4:9 cereal. 

So the top label is Special K and the bottom is the Ezekiel cereal. Just look at the difference. The first label has a TON of additives! And the way the ingredients are usually listed is by what's in there the most. So right of the bat you can see SUGAR is one of the top ingredients.  And them noticed how it says "blueberry flavored pieces" so it's pretty much saying that there is in fact no real blueberries in the cereal itself BUT there are a ton of man made chemicals that are added to this cereal though and notice how many oil additives they're actually putting into the cereal? Soybean, palm, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL... then lets not forget the fructose, dextrose, soy lecithin, milk, and along with some ingredients that you can't even pronounce and sounds like it belongs in a lab.. Note that there is a vast difference between natural sugars and refines/ processed sugars. Another common thing you might find on cereal boxes is the "HIGH IN FIBER" or "NOW MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN" sign on the front of it. Again, NEVER go by the front of the boxes! Always check the ingredients! While one of the ingredients might be a whole ingredients and higher in fiber, it might also be a big cluster of sugar.  At that point, it wont even matter whether you have 4g of extra fiber or 6g extra because you are essentially fueling your body with refines sugars!

So here are some things to avoid in cereals:
1. If the word "whole" is nowhere to be seen in the ingredients list.  Look at the label on the Ezekiel cereal above, every cereal's label should resemble that label.  If the word "whole" doesn't appear behind each ingredient, then it's refined.  As with sugar, you need to compare the amount of whole grains to the overall serving size. If the serving size and grams of whole grains are close, that means the cereal is almost 100% whole grain. Although sometimes you will come accross a few execptions, some cereals out there actually do not have 100% whole grain ingredients in it because the cereal might be filled with other highly nutritious ingredients such as, nuts, flax seeds, fruits (REAL fruits) etc. 

2. IGNORE "HIGH IN FIBER".  Especially cereals that do not have the word "whole" before each grain.  If you notice, the Special K label above mentioned "soluble corn fiber".  These fibers such as corn fiber, soy fiber or even oat fibers that are in cereals made without whole ingredients are a form of isolated fibers which gives you ZERO benefits.  Stick with INTACT fibers from whole ingredients! 

3. Here is a list I got from CNN :)
-- Fake fruits: The "strawberries" in your Kellogg's Strawberry Delight Bite Size Mini-Wheats are most likely a mixture of food dyes and gelatin (yuck), according to Liebman. The "raspberries" floating in your bowl are likely to have more salt than raspberry powder. "If you see fruit on the front, you have to read the ingredient list and look for real fruit," says Liebman.
-- Yogurt clusters: Yogurt sounds like it should be healthy, but yogurt coating is essentially oil and sugar and has no health benefits
-- "Slimming" cereals: Many cereals, especially those that are "high in fiber," claim you can drop a pant size if you eat a bowl for every meal. Sure, people who eat more fiber and whole grains tend to weigh less, but most cereals can't claim to cause weight loss — especially not if most of the "fiber" in them is processed.
-- Low in saturated fat: Many cereals claim they're low in saturated fat and are, therefore, good for your heart. Well, duh. Liebman says any food low in saturated fat can make that claim.
-- Calorie counts: Cereals, especially heavier ones with granola, are higher in calories than people realize. Think about how tiny a serving size of a quarter-cup is. Are you really only going to eat that much cereal for breakfast? "Calories really do count," says Liebman. "People tend to fill up the bowl, eat it, and fill it again. They assume cereal is a low-calorie, healthy food."

Now here are things to LOOK FOR:
1. No refined/man made ingredients. Easy rule of thumb:  make sure you can pronounce everything on the back of the box.
2. Whole ingredients - make sure every grain that is in it has the word "whole" behind it. the first two ingredients, at the very least should be whole grains, fruit, (nonGMO) soy, or bran.
3. Look for 3g of fiber in lighter cereals and 6g on heavier cereals.  Remember though, the ingredients list should consist of WHOLE ingredients in order for the fiber to matter! 
4. No artificial sweeteners like aspartame or our best friend, the lovely high fructose corn syrup.




No comments:

Post a Comment