Increasingly, following the trend for healthy eating, we want to choose nutritious, low-calorie cereal breakfast products. We suggest ourselves and the manufacturers’ information on the packaging that contains the slogans fit, healthy, nutritious breakfast, high fiber and vitamins, crunchy, crunchy, the best for breakfast. In addition, on the packaging you can find photos of lean, athletic people who are to ensure positive impact of the advertised products on health and figure.
However, have we ever wondered what is in the finished products? What are we guided by when choosing granola and cereals? Do we check what is in their composition? Will all the breakfast products really make us achieve the intended health effects? Below are a few reasons why we should carefully read the labels of ready-made breakfast items and as a result we will completely abandon them or choose only natural products.
What do ready-made breakfast products and muesli contain?
Breakfast products and muesli is a mixture of various cereal flakes and bran (sheep, rye, corn, rice, barley), fruits (dried, candied), seeds (linseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), nuts (Italian, hazelnut, cashew, Brazilian and earthly). In ready-made breakfast products you can also find an addition of chocolate, honey or taste toppings. However, often in addition to valuable and nutritious products is the addition of a huge amount of sugar, sweeteners, palm oil, preservatives and artificial aromas. So what to look for when reading the labels of ready-made breakfast products and deciding to buy them?
Have you ever wondered why ready muesli, crunchy muesli, crunchy muesli is so tasty and sweet compared to natural cereal flakes (oat flakes, rye flakes)? Huge amounts of sugar are hidden in it, which can be found in various forms.
We should avoid products in which we will find
– brown sugar,
– molasses of cane sugar,
– glucose-fructose syrup,
– malt-barley extract,
– invert sugar syrup,
– beet molasses.
In addition to these slogans, attention should also be paid to the presence of sugar in
– chocolate flakes (chocolate usually in the first place contains sugar),
– chocolate-like coatings (prepared from sugar, colors and flavors),
– candied fruit (candied fruit is repeated dipping of fruit in syrup containing increasingly high sugar concentration),
– dried bananas.
Palm oil is present in most food products, mainly in sweets, fast food, ready-made dishes. Avoid products that contain names such as palm oil, hardened palm oil, palm fat, partially hardened palm fat, hardened palm fat, vegetable fat, partially hardened vegetable fat. What causes the harmfulness of palm oil? It contains large amounts of saturated fatty acids and particularly harmful hardened fatty acids with trans configuration. They impair the lipid profile of the blood, raise the level of the LDL cholesterol fraction, while lowering the level of good HDL cholesterol. They also increase the risk of many cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, cancer and type 2 diabetes. In 2016, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) issued a report that palm fats contain the highest concentrations of potentially carcinogenic chlorine derivatives that result from fat processing.
Preservatives in breakfast products are most often found in additives such as dried fruit or dried fruits. The most common is sulfur dioxide (E220), which is present in dried fruits (eg raisins, apricots, plums). It prevents the multiplication of bacteria and fungi, and also gives an attractive color similar to natural raw material. The harmfulness of sulfur dioxide to health results from lowering the bioavailability of vitamin A and B vitamins (mainly B1 and B12). It can also cause allergies and exacerbate the symptoms of asthma. Preservatives such as sodium carbonate (E500) or ammonium carbonate (E503) cause irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa. High doses of these substances can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the WHO (2012) recommendations, daily salt intake should not exceed 5 grams (1 teaspoon). Excess salt in the diet increases the risk of hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke, stomach cancer and osteoporosis and the development of obesity. The addition of salt to ready breakfast cereal and muesli is used to improve the taste and additional product preservation.
Phosphates min. sodium phosphate (E339), potassium (E340), calcium (E341) are used as acidity regulators. Their addition to breakfast cereals prevents drying and clumping of the product. Excess phosphates in the diet may cause calcium absorption disorders, leading to disturbances in the calcium-phosphate balance, resulting in a loss of bone mineral density, osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
What to choose?
The most important thing is that before choosing the muesli or breakfast cereals, thoroughly analyze their composition. Let us not be convinced by the terms fit, healthy breakfast, slimming, vitamin-rich minerals. Below are three rules that we should use when choosing breakfast products
• Search for products that contain only natural ingredients: cereal, cereal bran, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, bitter chocolate, spices.
• Pay attention to the cereal flakes / bran in the first place.
• Avoid the addition of sugar (with different names), palm oil, hardened (hydrogenated) vegetable fats, preservatives, acidity and salt regulators.
You can also prepare muesli at home or take advantage of ideas for a quick and nutritious breakfast.
You can prepare your own muesli by mixing at your own discretion
– cereal flakes (oats, rye, barley, corn),
– bran (rye, wheat, oat, buckwheat),
– hazelnuts, groundnuts, Italian, cashews,
– almonds, pistachios,
– sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseed, sesame seeds,
– raisins, dried figs, dates, cranberries,
– dried fruits (pears, apples, plums) (avoid candied fruit),
– dark chocolate flakes,
– spices cinnamon, cocoa, ginger, coconut flakes.
What to add granola and cereals to?
You can use natural yogurt, milk, fruit juice, fresh fruit (apples, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, pears).
Most breakfast cereals that can be found on shop shelves are highly processed products containing high sugar content, preservatives, hardened vegetable fats, artificial colors and flavors. Therefore, you should choose natural products, carefully analyzing the labels of breakfast products. However, the best idea will be to independently compose a mixture of cereal flakes, nuts and dried fruits, which in combination with milk, yogurt or fruit will help you prepare a nutritious breakfast.
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