Venturing through the cereal aisle after receiving a box of Vector cereal, I was struck by the realization that cereal is, without a doubt, an ultra-processed food item. Just one glance at the ingredient list is enough to confirm that these aren't recipes easily replicated at home.
As you scoop your morning cereal, let's dissect the nutritional claims on these boxes. Take Vector, for example: the packaging proudly boasts 13 grams of protein, 20 grams of whole grains, and a hefty 22 vitamins and minerals. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? You might pat yourself on the back for getting that early dose of protein I always recommend. However, those impressive figures come with a caveat, disclosed in the fine print—this is assuming you're mixing your 55-gram serving of Vector with 200 milliliters of skim milk. By themselves, those 55 grams of Vector offer just 5.7 grams of protein. It's the addition of milk that ramps up the protein content to 13 grams. Yes, the milk is doing the heavy lifting here.
Switching gears to granola, many of us grab a bag, thinking we've chosen the healthier route. Unfortunately, the sugar content in granola often tells a different story. Although artisanal, homemade versions are now on the market (albeit at a steep price of around $10 per bag), a typical box can contain up to 15 grams of added sugar in just a half-cup serving. When we consider the daily added sugar limit—25 grams for women and 36 grams for men—that's a substantial portion consumed with the first meal of the day. And I haven't even touched on the argument for lower sugar intake to maintain stable blood sugar levels!
Take Nature Valley's Protein Oats and Dark Chocolate Granola as an example. A two-thirds cup serving packs a whopping 18 grams of sugar—that's more than what you'd find in a serving of Oreo cookies—along with 8 grams of fat and 290 calories.
So, the next time you reach for that 'healthy' cereal or granola, you might want to take a closer look at what's really inside that box. Tune into Episode 181 to get the full scoop and to help make informed choices about your breakfast options."
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