We are literally bombarded by TV advertising that presents breakfast cereals as a healthy way to start your day and how to lose weight. According to statistical data, cereals are the most popular breakfast choice in the US with 88% of people eating it regularly and two thirds having it at least once a week.
Another study reports that cereal makers offer more products directed towards children and have significantly increased their advertising in the media. Nobody argues that cereals are convenient and can be prepared in no time but are they really good for your health?
I can assure you if you are having a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast you may be setting yourself and your children up for some serious health problems.
There are following issues with cereals that you cannot ignore:
1. ALL non-organic cereals contain GMO either in trace amounts or as a key ingredient.
Center for Food Safety reported that up to 85% of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified. Since corn is one of the ingredients in most packaged foods found on the shelves in the supermarkets, there is a high likelihood that corn-based and many other cereals that use non-organic corn contain GM corn.
The problem with GMO foods is that manufacturers of all popular breakfast cereal brands are not required by law to label their products as containing GMO. Without labeling it remains a big mystery for consumers what is the exact content of GMO they get served for their cereal breakfast every morning.
Do not let the label “Natural” on your cereal box mislead you.
While the majority of consumers believe that “Natural” products are free from pesticides and any genetically modified ingredients, new studies at the Cornucopia Institute revealed that they actually contain high levels of GMOs and toxic chemicals such as pesticides.
2. The majority of commercial cereals show high concentrations of additives and preservatives that can cause and contribute to many health conditions.
The most common of them are:
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Food Dyes
- Soy Lecithin
3. Heart and Stroke Foundation published some alarming research that high levels of salt, sugar and fat are hidden in many popular breakfast cereals and are actively promoted as healthy for both children and adults.
Cereals as any other processed and refined foods are often high in all these ingredients. About 35 % of the salt we consume comes from grain-based products such as breakfast cereals and bread.
Most people are unaware that they are addicted to sugar, how much hydrogenated fats they consume and about large amounts of salt and sugar they are eating with each bowl of cereal. Not many consumers also know that by replacing cereals with fresh produce, lean protein and healthy fats your chances of having a stroke dramatically reduce.
4. ALL gluten and grain containing cereals can cause damage to the intestine and result in inflammation, nutritional deficiencies and can trigger autoimmune diseases.
Gluten and in particular one of gluten proteins called gliadin is found in ALL gluten cereals except oats. Gluten and gluten-like proteins found in corn and other grains can cause an overreaction of the immune system in food sensitive and genetically predisposed individuals.
Effects of gluten on the immune system and profound nutritional deficiencies that often come together with gluten sensitivity, contribute to many autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s.
The intestinal lining is a protective barrier against the environment and has the highest concentration of the immune cells in the human body. Recent research reported that several anti-nutrients, psychoactive substances, gluten and other non-gluten agents discovered in cereals can damage the intestinal walls and cause multiple health issues. Simply put cereal grains promote inflammation and leaky gut.
5. Humans are unable to fully digest some parts of the grains that also has been known to have highly addictive properties.
These undigested partial proteins or peptides are found in the gluten cereals and have morphine-like properties similar to drugs once they enter the bloodstream. This is the reason why so many people become addicted to carbohydrates and have withdrawal symptoms after they stop eating cereals, sugars and other foods high in carbs.
6. Cereals provide low nutritional value
It may surprise you that cereals are very low in omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamin C. By displacing meats, fruits and vegetables the consumption of cereals reduces our vitamin intake. Many nutrients like B12 and other group B vitamins are not found in any gluten cereals.
Food manufactures found a way around it by fortifying cereals with vitamins and minerals and providing misleading nutritional value on the label. However, it doesn’t really matter if the cereal is fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals or has high or low fibre content because it cannot replace the nutritional value and far greater satiety that you can get from fresh whole foods.
7. Having a bowl of cereal full of sugar every morning is a sure way to get any type of metabolic and blood sugar problems down the road.
Insulin and blood sugar imbalances wreak havoc in the whole endocrine system negatively affecting all other hormones and suppressing thyroid. Furthermore, excess of blood sugar stores as fat and goes directly into the adipose tissue.
You may also find yourself hungry, craving even more sugar, gaining weight and potentially be at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes in the long-term. Many people don’t realize that their afternoon and nighttime hunger and cravings are in fact attributed to this morning bowl of cereal and will go away as soon as it is replaced with a nutritious alternative.
What can you do:
So if you decide to have cereals it is critical to choose certified organic brands that are free from GMO.
Check labels for the sodium (salt), sugar and carbohydrates content.
Check for flavour enhancers, additives and preservatives as these can contain even more sugar, salt and other substances that can cause you many health issues. If you got confused what healthy foods and breads are check out this post about hormone damaging cereals.
Include fresh whole foods in the diet such as eggs, healthy fats, lean meats, fruit and vegetables that provide you with a more nutritious alternatives than cereals.
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