I used to think that I never had time for breakfast and would run out the door on empty but did you know that people who skip breakfast are 4 ½ time as likely to be obese as those who always eat it? Of course now whether I am hungry or not I eat a healthy breakfast (and not the chocolate that was just sitting on my desk this morning as a Christmas gift that I keep eyeing) everyday. Now some interesting studies support eating whole grain cereals for breakfast and here is why-According to a Harvard health study those who consumed whole grain cereal seven or more times per week had the lowest incidence of heart failure. In another study at the University of Minnesota it was reported that the risk of all coronary events was reduced by 10% for each 10g of grain fiber consumed per day. Cereal is one of the best sources of these whole grains so that means that a single daily serving has the potential to slash your risk of heart disease (the number one killer of women). Other whole grain intake benefits are lower rates of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. A great way to get some of your high grains is in cereal. You just need to know what to look for so you don’t end up with a bowl full of empty calories instead of your whole grains. Here are some tips for choosing that whole grain cereal –
*Know where your fiber is coming from-Check the ingredient list to find out exactly what those flakes or squares are made from. Millet, amaranth, quinoa, and oats are always whole grain, but if you don’t see whole in front of wheat, corn , barley and rice, these grains have been refined.
*Avoid sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners-Some cereals add these to boost the sweetness of your cereal without adding calories. Also, steer clear of cereals containing sucralose, aspartame, sorbitol, mannnitol, xuylitol, malitol, malitol syrup, lactitol and erythritol (okay , these sound like another language to me). If you want to sweeten your cereal try adding some honey or fresh fruit!
*Watch for hidden sugars- The total sugars listing does not distinguish between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. The natural sugars found in nutrient rich whole grains and fruits are fine but it is the added sugars that can cause problems with your blood sugar and energy levels. Keep an eye out for brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sugar and sucrose. Skip cereals that list any of these within the first three ingredients.
*Look for the words high fiber on the box- if the box says high fiber this will insure that there at least 5g per serving.
I guess this means that my Cocoa Puffs are out for now and a healthier choice is in-oh well.
ref-PRevention, November 2008
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