Many of us start the morning by eating a bowl of cereal. For all individuals, breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. This especially holds true for those who are working to lose weight because a healthy breakfast can help you avoid overeating later in the day. Unfortunately, not all cereals are created equal, and there are definitely some cereals to avoid when dieting.
1. Sugary Cereals
While sugary cereals such as Lucky Charms and Golden Grahams taste good, they do nothing for your waistline. Many cereals are high in sugar, high in calories, high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. None of these are beneficial and will leave you hungry long before it is time for lunch. Cereals with the highest sugar content per serving include Apple Jacks, Golden Crisps and Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch. These cereals have more than 12 grams of sugar per serving, which means that they are composed of more than 50 percent sugar.
2. Fiberless Cereals
When selecting a cereal, make sure to pick a variety that features at least three grams of fiber per serving. You will also want to look at the ingredient list to see if the cereal includes some form of whole grains in the first few ingredients. Whole grains will increase the fiber content of the cereal, helping you to feel full longer. Cereals that you will want to avoid because they contain refined grains and a low fiber content include Corn Pops, Kix, Cap’n Crunch and Honey Comb.
3. Cereals with Hydrogenated Oils
Why begin the day by filling your body with artificially created fats when there are many heart healthy fats on the market? Partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, were added to cereals to help extend their shelf life but according to the Mayo Clinic, this type of fat increases cholesterol, triglycerides and causes inflammation. Cereals that you will want to avoid that have trans fats are Cocoa Krispies, Smacks, Basic Four and Fruit Loops.
4. Salty Cereals
When you take a bite of your favorite sugary cereal, it may surprise you that this same sweet cereal may also be high in sodium. Some cereals have even more salt per serving than potato chips. The consumption of too much sodium has shown to lead to elevated blood pressure and cause fluid retention. Cereals that are high in salt include All-Bran, Golden Grahams and Rice Krispies.
5. High Fat Cereals
Many cereals appear seemingly safe, especially granola or muesli cereals. Unfortunately, this belief does not hold true when you are working to lose weight. These cereals are often both high in fat and high in sugar because of the large quantity of nuts and seeds and the use of oils or honey. Additionally, some companies include hydrogenated oils in granola to extend its shelf life. Make sure to check the fat content of granola and consider only consuming this type of cereal as a light topping on yogurt.
By eliminating these unhealthy cereals from your morning routine, you will be setting the tone for healthy eating for the rest of the day. A healthy breakfast has shown to help with concentration, weight loss and a reduction in cholesterol levels.