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Worst Cereals

lizzydavis's picture
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

I just read this article and wanted to share it.

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (1 cup)
190 calories
1.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
7 g fiber
19 g sugars

It'll be hard to find a more sugar-loaded cereal than Raisin Bran. It’s sweeter than even Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs, or Cocoa Krispies. Some of that sugar can be attributed to the raisins’ natural blend of fructose and glucose, but the real culprit is the sticky white armor of sucrose that enrobes each piece of fruit. Both Kellogg’s and Post are guilty of this raisin mistreatment, so what should be a legitimately healthy bowl of fruit and grains pours out closer to a candy-coated dessert.

Eat This Instead!
Kellogg’s All-Bran (1 cup) with a tablespoon of raisins
150 calories
0.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
7 g fiber
13 g sugars

Bonus Tip: Dive deeper into the world of nutritional blunders with the 30 Worst Sandwiches in America.

General Mills Chocolate Chex (1 cup)
174 calories
3.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
1 g fiber
11 g sugars

First, let’s get this out of the way: Chocolate-flavored cereals should rarely be part of your morning routine. That said, they can make decent desserts. One study published by the American College of Nutrition found that among late-night snackers, those who chose cereal took in fewer calories than those who made other choices, and ultimately they wound up losing nearly half a pound of body fat per week. That doesn’t mean you should switch to an all-cereal diet, just that cereal is a better evening snack than you might think. Of course, not all are created equal, and surprisingly, the worst of them is the one that seems geared toward mature eaters. So the rule is, if you’re going with chocolate cereal, let your inner kid free. Per bowl, Chocolate Chex packs in more calories than Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, or Cookie Crisp.

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Cookie Crisp (1 cup)
133 calories
1.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
1.5 g fiber
15 g sugars

General Mills Chex Multi-Bran (1 cup)
210 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated)
8 g fiber
13 g sugars

Chex might seem harmless, but it’s the only brand that holds down two spots on this list. The slip-up with this box is the heavy load of sugar. (Notice that it’s even sweeter than the chocolate-flavored Chex.) General Mills calls it a “hint of sweetness,” but really it’s on par with some of the most indulgent boxes on the shelf. In fact, one bowl of this cereal has more sugar than a scoop of Edy’s Slow Churned Fudge Tracks Ice Cream. We applaud the fiber, but the sugar won’t cut it.

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Post Shredded Wheat Original Spoon Size (1 cup)
170 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
6 g fiber
0 g sugars

Kellogg’s Smart Start Original Antioxidants (1 cup)
190 calories
0.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
3 g fiber
14 g sugars

Of all the cereals on this list, this is the best example of inflated marketing. This box is littered with words that attempt to make you think you’re getting a wholesome breakfast, but in reality you’re getting a run-of-the-mill bowl of highly sweetened cereal with a multivitamin tossed in on top. Don’t let the added vitamins persuade you into thinking that the sugar isn’t a problem. It most certainly is.

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Kashi Vive (1 cup)
135 calories
2 g fat (1 g saturated)
10 g fiber
8 g sugars

Bonus Tip: Save calories, time, and money by signing up for our FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter. You'll get nutrition and weight-loss secrets delivered daily to your inbox!

Quaker Oatmeal Express Golden Brown Sugar (1 cup)
200 calories
2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
3 g fiber
18 g sugars

Sure it’s convenient to have your oatmeal pre-packaged with a serving bowl, but is it really worth the love handles? Because that’s the likely result of eating this much sugar every morning. Sure, there’s a small shot of fiber, but in terms of the sweet stuff, this bowl is worse than eating a Little Debbie Marshmallow Pie for breakfast. Instead, leave an old coffee cup at work, and every morning load it with a packet of Quaker’s High Fiber Cinnamon Swirl. With that swap you’ll earn more belly-filling fiber and eliminate the blood-sugar surge. You’ll never even miss the plastic serving bowl.

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Quaker High Fiber Cinnamon Swirl (1 packet)
160 calories
2 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
10 g fiber
7 g sugars

Bonus Tip: Eliminate even more superfluous calories by avoiding this crazy list of The Worst Drinks in America. Your waistline will thank you.

Quaker Natural Granola, Oats, Honey & Raisin (1 cup)
420 calories
12 g fat (7 g saturated)
6 g fiber
30 g sugars

You’re in big trouble if your mornings include a bowl of this stuff. One cup eats up 20 percent of your day’s energy needs and saddles you with as much sugar as a Snicker’s bar. That’s indulgent even by dessert standards. The culprit in this box is the combined impact of brown sugar and coconut oil, which together add loads of calories with scarcely any nutrients. What you want to do is switch to a lighter granola like Kashi’s GoLean Crunch!, and then instead of eating it by the bowl, use just a handful as a topping for unsweetened whole grain cereal or oatmeal. Now that’s a recipe for a good breakfast.

Eat This Instead!
Kashi GoLean Crunch! (1 cup)
200 calories
4.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
8 g fiber
12 g sugars

TxKayaker's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2009

Wow makes me want to return my unopened box raisin brand.
Thanks for the post. BTW do you have anymore bracelets?

imagineit2010's picture
Posts: 153
Joined: Jan 2010

This is great info. and I understand the concerns with refined sugar but what about natural sugar? An average medium apple has upwards of 20 grams of sugar. One serving of all natural, organic yogurt can have over THIRTY grams of sugar. One could hardly say either of those are worse than a bowl of Captain Crunch (my favorite as a kid). How are we supposed to "starve" cancer of sugar when many healthy foods are loaded?

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

If you google different kinds of sugar you will find a list of the 10 or so kinds including brown sugar, molasses, fructose, sucrose, maltose and several others. Some are natural occuring and others are not but they will explain all of that. To answer your question an apple has fructose which is a natural occuring sugar that is slowly absorbed into your blood stream with minimal impact to your blood sugar levels while the cereals have sucrose which causes the huge spikes in blood sugar. The later is the sugar that makes your kids "bounce off the walls" after trick or treating and what diabetics have to avoid.

imagineit2010's picture
Posts: 153
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks, so are natural sugars (fructous)still bad for a cancer diet?

idarochny's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2009

My husband says:

"I checked some cereals and it turns out that that article needs to provide better statistics. Serving size comparisons should be determined by weight:

serving cal per
size calories gram cereal
59g 190 3.22 Raisin Bran
55g 210 3.82 Mom's Best Wheat-fuls
28g 110 3.93 Frosted Cheerios
32g 130 4.06 Honey Comb
29g 120 4.14 Reeses Puffs

So by weight, Raisin Bran has the lowest sugar content - and as pointed out by others, better sugars. The sugar bomb cereals make their caloric content appear lower by simply halving their recommended serving size, common practice. - Nick"

RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Feb 2010

All cereals have much to be desire on what they have in them. I stopped eating them.

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