We need to talk about breakfast!
Cereals have been touted as a good breakfast choice for a long time. But is that really true?
By chance the other day, I read the ingredients on a box of ‘plain’ cereal and I was horrified to discover the first nine ingredients were basically sugar in one form or another.
The box of Multigrain Hoops was the offending breakfast item and next on the shelf were the Wholegrain Malties.
Just for the record remember, these cereals we have in our house are the “No added Sugar”, plain versions.
Lets go through the ingredients of the Multigrain Hoops (the Malties aren’t much better).
1-5. Wholewheat Flour, Oat Flour, Barley Flour, Maize Semolina, Rice Flour.
These are ‘complex carbohydrates’ but they are only ‘complex’ because they are long-chain molecules. They do take a little longer to break down and turn into energy than plain old glucose – our No1 sugar enemy (just ahead of public enemy No2 fructose). But they don’t require much processing from the body. It’s a simple snip, snip of the chain to break it into glucose. This quick, low-input of energy process releases the sugars into the blood fairly fast leading to an insulin spike Then you get the familiar carb slump (normally about ‘cake o-clock’ in the afternoon).
7. Wheat starch – see 1-5.
8. Caramelised Sugar Syrup – see 6.
9. Caramel – ditto
These flours are mixed into a paste (with some vitamins & minerals – often the ones that were stripped out in the flour milling process) and fired at a hot-plate. The actual nutritional content of the cereal is negligible. Call it a filler, realistically cereals are cattle-feed.
Don’t eat it people. It’s exactly the reason why you already feel hungry by the time you get to work.
Stuff your real breakfast with protein or low GI carbohydrates (oats, quinoa flakes etc.) if you eat one at all. (now there’s another whole debate for another day)! Here’s a very informative article from the livestrong foundation on Glycaemic Index (GI).