If you or your children eat cereal for breakfast, you might not be aware that these cereals are not good for you, even those so-called "healthier" cereals.
EXACTLY WHAT IS BAD ABOUT CEREAL?
People often eat cereal to start off the day. Some even eat more than one bowl if they are really hungry. A lot of people also have it as a snack before going to bed,. The reason it is not good for our body is because the vast majority of cereals are very high in simple carbohydrates.
Most cereals contain almost 100% simple carbohydrates. For example, 24 Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheat biscuits contain 200 calories, 48 grams of total carbohydrates and 12 grams of sugar.
Eating high simple carb foods like cereals, breads, cookies and other sweets is not advisable at night because you body will not get the opportunity to burn off the calories from the carbohydrates.
Instead, the energy will be converted and stored as fat. When this happens, it is much harder for your body to break down and burn off the fat. The result is you tend to gain weight.
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT CARBOHYDRATES, ESPECIALLY SIMPLE CARBS?
Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down by the body to be used as energy. So you really get no nutritional value from them and become hungry soon after eating them. They are found naturally in foods such as milk and milk products as well as in refined sugars.
When it comes to healthy intake, the majority of carbohydrates should come from naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates (i.e. starches).
Intake of carbohydrates should vary according to various factors such as activity levels, genetics and the time of day. Most of us sleep during night time hours so we should not be eating carbohydrates at breakfast time. You have been fasting for seven to ten hours overnight.
So you do need some nutrients getting to you body cells for energy. However, healthy muscle cells and Fat cells are both ready to receive nutrients first thing in the morning.
This means only very lean people, with very few or small fat cells, or very active individuals, whose muscle cells take up more carbs, should be eating carbohydrates at breakfast time.
Obese individuals with possibly impaired glucose tolerance may be doing themselves an injustice by consuming a carbohydrate rich breakfast. For the majority of us, the optimum time to consume carbohydrates is after a workout involving strength training. Our muscle cells are ready to absorb carbohydrates and will not be turned into fat stores as readily.
ARE THERE OTHER REASONS WHY CEREAL IS BAD FOR YOU?
Cereal manufactures point out that cereals need to be eaten with fruit and milk in order to have a "balanced and complete breakfast". So, what else is wrong with cereal?
1. Extrusion Process: Dry packaged cereals are put through a process known as "extrusion." This manufacturing process includes using both high pressure and heat. This is the way cereal grains are converted into flakes, O's and other popular shapes that our kids love to play with.
Extrusion essentially destroys the majority of the nutrients and added vitamins which supposedly fortify the cereal. Amino acids or protein building blocks are especially damaged by the extrusion process making them toxic. The structures of these protein compounds are changed. Therefore, new compounds form and they are potentially dangerous to our health.
2. SYNTHETIC VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Although lots of cereals have added vitamins, they are not the natural. They are synthetic vitamins. Our bodies are not meant to use them. In fact, many man-made vitamins are eliminated by the body immediately being treated like toxins. These types of vitamins can cause various imbalances within the body leading to ongoing health problems.
In addition, our bodies cannot effectively absorb many nutrients if they are not consumed with other foods containing saturated fats. Those people who usually eat dry cereal with either skim milk or low-fat milk are getting no nutritional benefit from these added vitamins and minerals. We will take a look at the issues with pasteurized milk shortly.
3. DENATURED PROTEIN AND HIGH LEVELS OF CARBOHYDRATES IN "HEALTHIER" CEREALS: Are high fiber cereals bad for you too? High fibber cereals made from healthier grains are certainly marketed as our best nutritional choices. Examples include Kashi GoLean and Kellogg's Raisin Bran among many others. These cereals have more protein than other dry packaged cereals.
However, when the high protein grains are put through the extrusion process they create even more "denatured" protein. These are proteins whose properties have been altered by heat, chemicals or enzymes causing these proteins to lose their biologic activity. Hence, "healthy" high fiber cereals are likely worse for out bodies than presweetened junk cereals because of the high protein, ultra processed grains.
These high fiber cereals have as much or more carbohydrates than their junk cereal counterparts. One cup of Kashi GoLean has 140 calories, 30 grams of total carbohydrates and 6 grams of sugar while one cup of Kellogg's Raisin Bran contains 190 calories, 45 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams of sugar.
So, you can see that the so-called nutritional value of Raisin Bran is just as bad as the sugar coated Frosted Mini Wheats mentioned earlier.
WHAT ABOUT THE MILK WE PUT ON OUR CEREAL?
Many health experts today insist hat we should no longer consume pasteurized milk, Instead, we should substitute raw milk when cooking, drinking or adding it to our cereal.
The main reason is, after milk has gone through the pasteurization process, it provides very little in the way of proper nutritional value. Many valuable enzymes are destroyed. Vitamins A, B6, B12 and C are reduced. Milk proteins are converted from healthy to unnatural amino acids. The latter actually have negative effects on our health.
Also, the fact that beneficial bacteria are destroyed by the pasteurization process results in the promotion of pathogens.
Raw milk, a much healthier alternative, is a great source of "good" bacteria (i.e. lactobacillus acidophilus) as well as one of the best sources of calcium.
WHAT ARE SOME HEALTHIER BREAKFAST ALTERNATIVES?
So what are some healthier, lower carbohydrate breakfast options we can eat instead of cereal? Try alternatives like:
1. A Green Smoothie: A green drink blended with fresh Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens or kale which tastes delicious. Green leafy vegetables are some of the healthiest foods around.
2. Sprouted Bread: Made from sprouted whole wheat kernels which have been ground and baked into the bread. Sprouted grains contain more nutrients, protein and less fat than other kinds of breads.
3. Salads: Chock full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
4. Eggs: Low in fat and carbohydrates, an excellent source of protein. There are many yummy ways of preparing eggs. Studies have also shown that persons who consume eggs for breakfast as opposed to carbohydrate rich ones, have a greater feelings of satiety and are less likely to overeat or snack between meals.
5. Oatmeal with Almond Milk: Try this alternative to dry cereal and cow's milk. Oatmeal has less calories, sugar, carbohydrates and fats than other cereals. Almond milk contains no lactose and very little saturated fat.
6. Fruit: Full of vitamins, fat free, a source of natural sugar.
Hopefully, this discussion will make you think twice before you pour that next bowl of cereal. Instead, try one of the many healthy alternatives available and your body will thank you for it.
DON'T FORGET "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!"