Who doesn’t love a good breakfast cereal? From the classic Cheerios to the “healthy” cornflakes to the overly sugary Cap’n Crunch, you can find breakfast cereals in all shapes and sizes.
Many people prefer to start their day with a bowl of cereal. After all, they reason, it’s a balanced meal that comes with enough calories to fuel their day. Sadly, that’s not the case!
Yes, breakfast cereal does have plenty of calories, as you’ll see on the table below:
But, the problem with breakfast cereal isn’t in the calories–it’s in the carbs!
On the table above, did you see how many grams of sugar some of those cereals have? Some of the cereals have over 50 grams of sugar, and even the “healthier” options contain more sugar than you should be eating at breakfast. When this sugar enters your body, it’s absorbed instantly, sent to your liver, and turned into blood sugar. When all that sugar hits your bloodstream, it leads to a spike in blood sugar levels.
Your body has to produce insulin to control the blood sugar spikes, but what happens when this spike occurs day after day? Your body has to produce more and more insulin, as it loses its sensitivity to the hormone. The result is insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes!
And it’s not just the sugar that’s the problem. Most of the cereals on the list above contain plenty of carbohydrates, but there is very little in the way of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients make the carbs “complex”, which means that it takes your body longer to break them down. Without the nutrients, the carbs are “simple”, meaning your body breaks them down more easily.
So, you’ve already absorbed all the sugar, and now there’s a stream of simple carbs coming right along behind them. Your liver turns these carbs into more sugar, so there’s an even greater spike in your blood sugar levels. Talk about serious problems!
Kids love cereal, and often the brighter and sweeter the better. Even adults have a hard time saying no to the more delicious cereals (think frosted flakes, Cheerios, Cap’n Crunch, and the list goes on). That’s to be expected, as the human body tends to crave sugar. But if you eat these sugary, unhealthy cereals on a regular basis, you’re going to do your body a lot more harm than you might realize! The more simple carbs and processed sugar you put into your body, the harder it is to control your blood sugar and your weight.
So what’s the solution? How can you enjoy your breakfast without overdoing it on the calories, the carbs, and the sugar? Here’s a simple answer: cut cereals out altogether. If you don’t eat breakfast cereal, but instead opt for a healthy balanced breakfast (eggs, toast, veggies, fruit, etc.), you won’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes.
But if you can’t see yourself starting the day without your bowl of cereal, try to choose the healthier options. As you can see on the table above, the best options are:
- Fiber One
- Cheerios (the unsweetened kind)
- Shredded Wheat
These cereals are fairly low in sugar, and they tend to have a higher fiber content than most of the other cereals. The addition of fiber into the cereal will slow down the rate at which the food is absorbed, reducing the risk of blood sugar spikes. These cereals also have more nutritional value than the higher-sugar ones, making them the best choice for breakfast cereal lovers!