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Obesity and Weight Management

Cereal

04/20/2004

Question:

I eat cereal because I think that it is healthy. However I note that Cheerios lists sugar as its second largest ingredient, suggeting that cereal maybe be similar to candy and not as nutritional as I thought.

I also eat BerryBurst Cheerios that tastes totally like candy but lists calories equal to regular Cheerios (and both use whole grain).

I`ve tried "health brand cereals" but found that some of them have even higher calorie levels.

My question is: Should one eat cereal for nutrition? Which one?

Answer:

I think cheerios is a fine choice. They do fortify it with vitamins and minerals and it carries the endorsement of the American Heart Association for helping to lower cholesterol in conjunction with a low-fat diet. This is due to the fiber found in it.

You`re right - some of the cereals listed as "healthy" can be very calorie dense, usually due to the addition of nuts/extra unsaturated fats. Remember, when trying to be healthy and maintain weight, calories count. While I always incourage people to get vitamins/minerals naturally in foods, choosing a low sugar/higher fiber fortified cereal can help one in meeting their needs.

Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Angela Blackstone, RD, LD
Staff Dietitian
Center for Wellness and Prevention
Clinical Instructor
School of Allied Medical Professionals
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University