Cereal: Breakfast of Champions... Or Not?
My clients are often surprised to discover that breakfast cereals really aren't the breakfast of champions that years of highly successful advertising campaigns have led us to believe.
Why do I think most breakfast cereals should be avoided?
SUGAR--Most breakfast cereals are loaded with refined, nutrient-devoid sugars, as well as refined carbohydrates that are only a few steps away from being refined sugars themselves. Even the healthier cereal options habitually contain more than a tablespoon of white sugar per bowl. And those are the healthier versions.
PHYTIC ACID--Unless grains are properly prepared via sprouting, fermenting, soaking, etc., they contain an anti-nutrient known as phytic acid, which impairs our absorption of important nutrients, such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
PROCESSING--Most cold cereals are made by a process known as extrusion. An extruder is an industrial machine that uses high temperatures and pressures to create a variety of shapes such as flakes, O's, shredded grains, and puffs. It has been argued by numerous food experts, including The Weston Price Foundation, that this process can turn otherwise nutritious grains into poisonous substances due to the molecular changes that take place during production. It isn't just what we eat, but how it has been prepared.
FOOD COLOURING--Many cereals, particularly those marketed to children, contain synthetic food colouring. Other than producing a visually appealing colour, I have never heard of a single health benefit ascribed to food colouring. Unfortunately, I have heard of many dangers. For instance, Blue #1 has been linked to chromosomal damage [Banned in France and Finland]; Red #40 has been linked to chromosomal damage, lymphomas, and hyperactivity; Yellow #5 has been linked to chromosomal damage, lymphomas, insomnia, asthma, aggressive behaviour, hyperactivity, allergies, thyroid tumours, and neurochemical effects [Banned in Norway]... And those are but a few.
BLOOD SUGAR--Unless we are very careful about our portion sizes, cereal can easily spike our blood sugar levels, leading to sugar cravings, reduced focus, and energy spikes & crashes.
MILK--While some people tolerate cow's milk well, it is ranked as one of the most common food allergens/sensitivities and has been linked to everything from indigestion to eczema to autoimmune conditions. TIP: If you suspect that you might be sensitive to cow's milk, consider trying an alternative, such as goat's milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or hemp milk.
Do you love your cereal too much to give it up? If so, here are a couple of healthier alternatives:
I think that One Degree has done everything that a cereal company possibly can to create a healthy breakfast cereal. They use organic, whole food ingredients; they have sprouted their grains to enhance nutrient absorption and digestibility; and they are using whole sugars (including organic coconut palm sugar, which is more blood sugar friendly than most other natural sweeteners). Gluten free and gluten-containing options available.
Made with a combination of sprouted organic grains and legumes, Ezekiel 4:9 cereal is all about the live grain difference. While I would not recommend this cereal for anyone with a gluten sensitivity, it is a good Grape-Nuts-like cereal option.
Sometimes, it's all about the quality upgrades.