Gro­cery guru: ce­re­als

What to look for on the la­bel to en­sure you get the health­i­est brekkie for your needs

Prevention (Australia) - - In This Issue - BY DI­ETI­TIAN MELISSA MEIER, APD

The re­sults are in – eat­ing ce­real is good for your health. So good, in fact, that peo­ple who en­joy break­fast ce­real reg­u­larly have less chance of devel­op­ing heart disease or di­a­betes. Plus, they’re likely to weigh less. And yet, which ce­real to choose? Su­per­mar­ket shelves are brim­ming with so many op­tions, each boast­ing var­i­ous nu­tri­tion ben­e­fits. But in truth, some are more like a dessert in dis­guise. To help you avoid the traps and pick the best of the bunch, here’s what to look for on the packet:

Made with whole­grains

Yep, that’s what you’re after, be­cause whole­grains are the ones that have all three lay­ers of the grain in­tact – a fi­bre-filled outer layer, a starchy mid­dle layer and a nu­tri­ent-rich cen­tre. By com­par­i­son, a re­fined grain such as puffed rice and many flaked ce­re­als, con­tain only the starchy mid­dle layer, mean­ing most of its good­ness has been thrown away. So, read the in­gre­di­ents list and opt for a ce­real made with whole­grains for a nu­tri­ent-filled break­fast that will keep you go­ing till lunch. Look for whole­grain wheat, rolled oats or bran twigs.

Full of fi­bre

Fi­bre plays an im­por­tant role in that full feel­ing (and not craving a mid-morn­ing snack), as well as keep­ing you reg­u­lar. It’s also as­so­ci­ated with blood sugar control and can work to lower choles­terol. As a guide, when look­ing at the nu­tri­tion panel on the pack, aim for more than 10g fi­bre per 100g.

Low in sugar

While ‘quit­ting’ sugar is still on ev­ery­one’s radar, it’s not re­ally nec­es­sary. Look for less than 15g sugar per 100g and you’re off to a good start. But if your ce­real con­tains dried fruit, it counts to­wards the sugar, while adding ben­e­fi­cial nu­tri­ents and fi­bre. You can spot too much un­wanted added sugar by scan­ning the in­gre­di­ents list – if it’s listed to­wards the start then the ce­real’s high in added sugar.

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