I got an email from a listener with the following link to an article about the 20 most deadly cereals. You can see it here:
First, after looking at this article, it appears that the author used some fairly lame information for ranking his cereals. However, that doesn’t really matter because I would argue that there really aren’t any truly healthy cereals anywhere in your grocery store. They are mostly sugar-loaded garbage. Ask yourself what that cereal is giving you that you can’t get from a diet based on healthy proteins, healthy natural fats, and vegetables. The answer is “nothing.”
This article got me thinking more about cereal in general. Some people seem to crave pasta, for some people it is bread, and crackers. For me, it was the cereal. Cereal was my friend. Cereal was my desert and it put me to bed every night. I remember thinking to myself that I was using a “healthy” cereal and that is the same thing that I hear many of my clients tell me everyday. They mention their healthy breakfast of cereal in skim milk, and I can relate because I thought the same way.
When I try to talk people in to replacing that bowl of cereal with eggs, or that sandwich and chips with a steak-topped salad, they normally look at me with disgust and displeasure. Over and over I find that people do not want to give up their grains. Even if I offer up the nutritionally superior sweet potato or lentils to use as a replacement, it just isn’t good enough. It’s not the carbs., it is the grains that seem to give people the most comfort and satisfaction. Yes, there are studies that point to the addictive nature of these foods, and while I find that extremely interesting, that’s not something for today’s post. The main point for today is that none of these cereals are truly “healthy.”
Let’s look at a cereal like Kashi Go Lean. Kashi was my crack in my former cereal-aholic days. I loved this stuff and again, I thought of it as “healthy.” Why? Because it says so right on the box:
It advertises 7 healthy whole grains and as much protein as an egg, but lets look at the label a bit more closely.
You can see it sure does have those 7 healthy whole grains, but the problem there is that those 7 healthy grains don’t taste very good. So how do they make all that hard red wheat, barley, and triticate taste good? Sugar…..and plenty of it! Remember when you see words like syrup, honey, cane juice they are all synonymous with sugar.
The other thing I see on that list is canola oil. True to form, just like other processed foods, the kashi contains a cheap highly-processed vegetable oil. An oil that is much more likely to become oxidized or damaged, which isn’t a good thing once it enters your body (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjWmLG0EAs ). Cheap oils and sugar! And this is one of the “healthy” cereals?
Why not just get the advertised protein from a real food? You could eat an actual egg, and along with that protein you get a great source of saturated fat that your brain needs, as well as vitamin D and choline. Let me know if you can find a cereal that has all that. You won’t, because there is no such thing.
So what is the moral of this story? Eat less crap, or phrased in a nicer way “eat real food.” That’s right, I don’t consider that healthy Kashi cereal to be real food. So how do I know it isn’t real food? Look at that list of ingredients. If a food has that many ingredients, I’m going to try to avoid it, because I know it was made in a lab somewhere. On the flip side, how many ingredients are on that egg label? In my mind, the egg or any other real food will always win out over the fake food. So ditch the cereal and instead eat some high quality nutrient-dense foods.
The article above displays the "20 Deadliest Cereals." I'm here to tell you, they are all deadly, because they take the place of the nutrient-rich foods that we are supposded to be eating.
Also, if you think of canola oil or any other processed oils as a good fat, watch this and tell me if you want that in your body: