What to Look For in A Cereal

Are you confused about cereal? Do you want to choose a healthy cereal, but are overwhelmed by the large selection of brands in the supermarket? Truestar is here to make your stroll down cereal lane an easy one. We’ll help you make informed and healthy decisions and give you the tips you need to choose the right cereal.

Here’s what you should look for in a cereal:

Look for high-fibre cereal. Studies show that people who eat a high-fibre cereal at breakfast most mornings are less likely to be overweight, are at less risk for heart disease and some types of cancers. For optimal health, it’s best to get 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Eating cereal is a good way to ensure you meet your daily fiber requirements. A product is labelled as a:

Very high source of fiber if it contains at least 6 grams of dietary fiber per serving; High source of fiber if it contains at least 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving; and
Source of fiber if it contains at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

Try to have a cereal with at least 2 grams of fiber, however, more is always better.

Avoid refined cereals. When a cereal is processed or refined, the bran and germ is removed causing most of the nutrients, fiber, and disease-fighting compounds that protect your health to be lost. Refined cereals are also called high glycemic index foods as they lack fiber, enter the bloodstream rapidly, elevate blood sugar levels, which in turn causes your body to secrete more insulin. An over-production of insulin results in weight gain as excess insulin promotes the storage of fat. High glycemic index foods have also been linked to the development of diabetes. When choosing a healthy cereal, be sure to look for whole grain cereal that is made from all three parts of the wheat kernel (bran, germ and endosperm) which contain all the precious vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting properties.

Choose whole grains. You want to look for a cereal that is made from whole grains such as whole wheat, wheat bran, oats, oat bran, rye, kamut or spelt. These should be listed as the first ingredients on the nutrition label. Whole-grain cereals contain many different disease-fighting phytochemicals which researchers have linked to many health benefits such as reducing risk for heart disease, lowering cholesterol, protecting against cancer, aiding with weight loss and controlling blood sugar.

Limit the sugar. Sugary cereals are nothing more than empty calories. Check the nutrition panel to ensure that the total carbohydrate to sugar ratio is no less than 4:1.This means that if total carbohydrates equal 20 grams, the sugar content should be 5 grams or less. To sweeten your cereal naturally, add fresh, frozen or dried fruit.

Protein content should be at least 3g per serving. To boost protein content, you can add protein powder into homemade cereals such as oatmeal.

Watch the Fat. Avoid cereals with hydrogenated or trans fats in the ingredients. These fats are the “bad” fats that increase the risk for heart disease. Look for a cereal that is low in fat (less than 3 grams of fat per serving) and make sure it is also low in saturated and trans fats. To boost the good omega -3 fats in your diet, you can sprinkle some flaxseed, walnuts or almonds onto your cereal. For more information on fats, see Fats: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Truestar is “Whole Grain” all the way! Truestar meal plans include healthy whole-grain cereals such as high-protein oatmeal. For healthy living, get on the Truestar plan of diet, exercise, supplements, attitude and sleep.