What is the best cereal for weight loss?
Breakfast is often considered to be the most important meal of the day, and rightly so because studies have shown that eating it can help with weight management, reduce ones risk of developing type 2 diabetes and boost concentration levels.
One of the most popular foods eaten for breakfast worldwide is cereal. The primary ingredient used to make breakfast cereals is some type of grain, such as corn, oats or rice.
With there being dozens of choices available, each with their own enticing label, buying a box of healthy cereal can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some things to consider when making a choice:
Fiber keeps you regular, lowers cholesterol levels and may boost heart health.
Studies have also shown that making a simple change and increasing fiber intake can help with weight loss. A reason for this might be because fiber fills you up and stabilizes blood sugar levels, so you are less likely to overeat.
It is therefore a good idea to opt for a cereal that is high in fiber. Cereals that are made from whole grains tend to be high in fiber.
Look for a cereal that provide at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Sugar, fat & salt content
A lot of breakfast cereals tend to be doused in sugar to make them more palatable and appealing, especially for children. However, the consumption of excess sugar has not only been linked with weight gain but may also increase ones risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Eating a cereal that is high in sugar will initially cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. A few hours later your blood sugar levels might fall rapidly, leaving you feeling hungry again and causing you to overeat.
You should opt for a cereal that has less than 10 grams of sugar per serving, and ideally 5 grams or less.
Keeping an eye on fat and salt content is recommended too, both of which can adversely effect weight loss. A certain cereal might be marketed as being low in sugar but could have large amounts of fat, or vice versa. A cereal with less than 3 grams of fat and less than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving would be ideal.
Monitoring calorie intake is important when it comes to weight management.
In order to lose weight, an individual needs to consume fewer calories than they burn throughout the day. Doing this is known as being in a caloric deficit and forces the body to use its fat stores as a source of energy.
Some cereals, especially those with added ingredients, tend to contain more calories per serving than others. And because of their delicious taste, it is very easy to overindulge, thereby leading to a caloric surplus.
Cereals that are high in fiber and low in sugar are generally low in calories as well, but are filling at the same time.
Read nutrition labels
With these 3 factors in mind, it is highly recommended that you read nutrition labels before making a purchase. Don’t judge a cereal by what is shown at the front of the box because manufacturers don’t always have your best interest at heart and might market their product as being healthy when it really isn’t.
Instead, read the nutrition label that provides information on what exactly is in the cereal. In most cases, this will be a label showing you information per 100 grams. This comes in handy because you can compare the nutritional information of two or more cereals and decide which is the best choice.
Some healthy cereal options
Below are some recommended cereals, at the time of writing. It is always a good idea to periodically check the nutritional information of various foods that you purchase from stores because manufacturers can change ingredients from time to time.
- General Mills Cheerios – 103 calories, 2 g fat, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 3 g protein per 1 cup (28 g) serving
- General Mills Fiber One – 60 calories, 1 g fat, 14 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 2 g protein per 1/2 cup (30 g) serving
- Weetabix – 134 calories, 2 g fat, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 4 g protein per 2 biscuits (36 g)
- Kellogg’s All-Bran Original – 81 calories, 2 g fat, 9 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein per 1/2 cup (31 g) serving
- Kashi GoLean – 148 calories, 1 g fat, 10 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 14 g protein per 1 cup (52 g) serving
This should give you a good idea about what to opt for when choosing a cereal for weight loss. If the ones listed above are not available where you live, opt for a cereal that closely resembles their nutritional profile.
Protein is important for weight loss
A lot of breakfast cereals tend to be high in carbohydrates but are quite low in protein.
However, numerous studies have shown that increasing protein intake is beneficial for weight loss because it boosts metabolism and reduces appetite.
For example, this study found that increasing protein intake to 30% of total calories resulted in 441 fewer calories being consumed per day. Eating protein in the morning will keep you satisfied for longer and prevent you from overindulging later on in the day.
It is therefore a good idea to add some protein rich foods to your cereal. Some great options include nuts, seeds and Greek Yogurt. Alternatively, you can eat cereal together with other foods that are high in protein such as eggs, on the side.
For some other healthy breakfast options besides cereal, see this article.