Breakfast Cereal – The Unhealthiest Health Food in the World?

Latest Nutrition — 28 June 2012

To most people, nothing seems more tempting than the idea of a breakfast that is ready to eat in just a minute or two. Breakfast cereal had till recently been touted as being among the best breakfast options for children and for people with busy work schedules. The attractive packaging along with the interestingly worded claims about being high on nutrition made it sound like a safe and most convenient breakfast food. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Recent studies have confirmed that  breakfast cereals are the unhealthiest food in the world giving solid, convincing reasons why we should simply resist the urge to include breakfast cereals in our grocery list.

The most obvious factor that goes against packaged  breakfast cereal is the sugar content which is way above the daily recommended levels. The fancier the appeal of the product for children, the higher is the sugar content likely to be. Contrary to all that has been advertised about breakfast cereals, they are actually the lowest in nutritive value and may even have adverse long-term effects on your health. Read on to dispel some long standing myths about packaged breakfast cereals which will convince you to opt for fresh home-made alternatives which, with a little planning, are as quick and easy to prepare.

Why is  breakfast cereal unhealthy?

  • Packaged breakfast cereals are put through an ‘extrusion’ process

In order to make the grain take the desired shape – flakes, the O’s, stars etc, the grains go through a process of high heat and pressure which robs them of all the natural nutrients that they contain. This extrusion makes changes to the very structure of amino acids, rendering them toxic.

  • Most brands manufacture genetically modified cereal grain

Genetically modified foods have the potential to greatly impact the health of human beings as they can get picked up and transmitted by the bacteria in the gut to other microorganisms. This could trigger alterations at the DNA level which could have negative consequences on our health.

  • Breakfast cereal grains contain phytic acid and are improperly prepared

Artificially processed and refined foods are high in phytic acid which makes nutrients bind to each other, preventing their absorption by the body. This not only lowers their nutritive value but also makes them difficult to digest.

  • The cereals are artificially refortified

All the processing that the grains go through, strip them of their natural nutrients. Therefore they are then refortified using synthetic vitamins that are loaded with chemicals. This kind of artificial refortification can lead to harmful consequences in the long run. Check out this short video which demonstrates the real iron content of corn flakes and shows how it comes in the form of iron filings that are not bio available to the human body. Click HERE

  • Extremely high sugar content

A study was conducted across more than 30 countries to monitor the sugar content in all the major cereal breakfast brands. The reports were quite alarming as they showed that many of them contained as much sugar as is present in a doughnut. The acidic properties of sugar sap your body of the vital minerals that you need to be in the best of health. Among the many harmful effects of consuming too much refined sugar, some of the most damaging include a tendency for osteoporosis, lowered immunity, diabetes and heart problems.

  • Wheat and gluten content in breakfast cereals unsuitable for those with gluten sensitivity

Most breakfast cereals contain gluten which could cause an allergy in a small group of people who suffer from glucose intolerance as they lack the bacteria that is important for the digestion of gluten. As many of them are not aware of the fact that these packaged cereals contain gluten, eating an innocent looking bowl of cornflakes may trigger an unpleasant allergic reaction which they may take days to recover from.

  • Breakfast cereals spruced up using chemicals

In an attempt to lure kids, breakfast cereals come in a variety of colours, shapes and flavours which are produced using harmful chemicals.  These artificial chemicals are dangerous and are capable of causing damage to the brain cells and have even been linked to diabetes, obesity and cancer. This makes packaged breakfast cereals the last kind of food that kids should be consuming, ranking even below the junk food category.

The Alternative

The best nutritional tip that the present generation should follow is to move away from processed, artificial food and adopt healthy eating habits that provide our bodies with natural, fresh foods that contain no preservatives and are not refined and processed.

Home-made breakfasts are a great way to start your day and with a little planning, can be as quick to prepare as ready-made packaged cereals. Some great breakfast ideas include all variety’s of freshly made eggs with some greens, organic porridge oats with some added protein (handful of nuts), left over meat from the night before or full fat yoghurt and fresh berries. Ideally you should always get protein at breakfast and something green if possible, this will keep hunger at bay for the morning and stop you snacking on poor quality foods. The greens will help to increase the alkalinity and boost detoxification and fat burning throughout the day.

It’s a bit of effort but the advantages far outweigh the convenience factor. Let’s make an informed choice and not let smart marketing and sleek packaging outsmart us! If you have any good ideas for your favourite healthy breakfast, then drop us a comment below, we are always keen to bring new ideas.

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  • Elaine Livingstone

    here was me thinking that bran flakes with yoghurt and blueberries ad strawberries on was healthy.