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Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast Cereals

Dietitian Juliette Kellow reveals that a new Which? report shows that many breakfast cereals still contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt.

Cereal Killers

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

A new Which? Report has highlighted, once again, that many breakfast cereals are still packed with fat, sugar and salt.

The consumer organisation looked at 275 cereals and compared them with the Food Standard’s traffic light labelling for fat, saturates, sugar and salt. More than three quarters had high levels of sugar (more than 15g per 100g), a fifth had high levels of salt (more than 1.5g per 100g) and 7 percent had high levels of saturates (more than 5g per 100g). Worryingly, of the cereals targeted at children, nine out of 10 were high in sugar.

WLR says:

Health experts are increasingly telling us how important it is to eat breakfast if we want to lose weight and keep it off. It seems, however, not all cereals are the healthy choice we think they are.

To check out the ‘healthiness’ of your favourite cereals, take a look at the Which! Report www.which.co.uk/cereals Check out at the nutrition information on packs, too. A cereal is a good choice if it contains…

  • less than 3g fat per 100g
  • less than 1.5g saturates per 100g
  • less than 5g sugars per 100g
  • less than 0.3g salt per 100g

In the meantime, you can improve the overall balance and nutrient content of your breakfast by following these rules…

  • Opt for wholegrain cereals – they contain more fibre and so will help to fill you up. Plus research shows eating three servings of wholegrains every day helps to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.  
  • Choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk to go with cereal.
     
  • Add extra fruit to cereal – try sliced banana, strawberries, raspberries, dried apricots, sliced mango, even fruit salad.  
  • If you fancy a change, top cereal with low-fat natural or fruit yogurt.  
  • Serve cereal with a small glass of unsweetened fruit juice. The vitamin C it contains will help the body to make the best use of the iron in the cereal. Fruit juice also counts as one of the five daily recommended servings of fruit and veg – but remember, no matter how much you drink, it only counts as one serving because it’s lower in fibre and contains more tooth-damaging sugars than fresh fruit.  
  • Don’t drink tea with breakfast cereal – it contains tannins, which prevent the body from absorbing iron.  
  • Don’t add raw bran to cereal – it might boost fibre intakes but it also contains phytates that stop certain minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc from being absorbed.

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