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Revealed! Surprising Facts About Breakfast Cereal You Never Knew

Breakfast cereal is made up from processed grain and is considered as a healthy early morning breakfast. But, are these cereal really healthy as they are perceived to be? It is usually eaten with milk, yogurt, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. You were unaware of this but breakfast cereal is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. This means that the nutrients are added to make it nutritious. Breakfast cereals claim to be packed with essential vitamins and minerals. No doubt, they are a convenient option for both kids and adults. Breakfast cereal are usually made up of corn, wheat, oats and rice. However, they also contain added nutrients like vitamins and minerals, salt, added sugar, preservatives, yeast, and some other flavorings to enhance the taste. Some breakfast cereal also contains added nuts and dried fruits, coated with chocolate.
According to the Delhi based nutritionist and author Pooja Malhotra, ”Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. So your breakfast choice holds a lot of significance. Breakfast must be a wholesome and balanced meal and should include all the important food groups. We can include whole grains like wheat, millets, oats etc in our breakfast. Not to forget, our breakfast must be freshly prepared from local and seasonal ingredients.” She further adds, ”Ready to eat breakfast cereals are laced with hidden sugars, chemical preservatives and various other additives. As a thumb rule, if the food comes from a plant, eat it; if it is manufactured in a plant, do not eat it! So ready to eat packaged cereals are best avoided. One can prepare one’s own home – made muesli or granola.”
Some reasons why you shouldn’t have cereal for breakfast:
1.Weight gain: No doubt, most breakfast cereals are flavored with preservatives, artificial food additives and sugars to make them more appetizing, especially to kids. As a result, regular consumption of cereals will lead to weight gain.
2. Gluten sensitivity: Gluten in the wheat-based products can irritate the intestines. Gluten is a protein that acts like glue which gradually builds up in the intestines. Gluten causes irritation in the gut. This will slow down your entire digestive process, eventually causing the body to absorb fewer nutrients. On top of that, gluten-sensitive individuals will suffer from minor discomforts such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. Even more worse, gluten can slow down your metabolic rate, making you prone to weight gain.
3. Ultra – refined grains: Though the box of cereal will be misleading claiming ”made of whole grains or low-fat ingredients.” But when you look at the nutritional label, the first few on the list are often refined grains and sugar. They are highly processed foods and much of their nutrients and fiber is lost once they are made.
4. High in sugar and refined carbs: If you start your day with high-sugar breakfast cereal it will increase your blood sugar levels. A few hours later, your blood sugar may crash, and your body will crave for another high-carbohydrate meal or a snack, thus creating a vicious cycle of overeating. Excessive consumption of sugar may also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.
(Pooja Malhotra is a Delhi based nutritionist and an author)