By Olivia Tarantino
We can’t say it’s surprising to see that cereals with the words “froot” or “chocolatey” slapped across their boxes contain added sugar and artificial colors. But did you know that certain “healthy” cereals are as equally devious?
If you’re an avid Eat This, Not That! reader, you probably know by now that some classic morning meals—frozen waffles and pop tarts, we’re looking at you—are on a mission to crush your weight loss goals. And that’s because many of these breakfast foods are high in sugar and low in good-for-you nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and protein that can help to propel us into the day feeling satisfied and energized. But not all diet offenders are easy to point out. Take, for example, healthy cereals.
Marketers began to catch on to the fact that people wanted breakfast foods that were low in sugar and high in nutrients. While you’d think that would mean companies would make whole grain cereals that were low in sugar, that’s not exactly what happened. Instead, brands just plastered health-focused words like “antioxidants” or “whole grain” onto their cereal boxes in an attempt to catch the eye of the unassuming dieter. The result? Healthy cereals became one in a long list of foods with health halos.
Because it’s so difficult to tell which boxes of grains are actually good for you—and which ones are nothing more than a marketing gimmick to take advantage of your quest for a better diet—we sought out to find some of the most misleading cereals on grocery store shelves. Watch out for these secret diet disasters, and don’t forget that being mindful of your morning meal doesn’t just stop in the cereal aisle.
Eat This! Tip:When you’re roaming the cereal aisle, make sure your box has at least 3 grams of fiber and fewer than 10 grams of sugar. Limiting yourself to 10 grams of sweet stuff per serving will be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming your blood glucose levels to the point you’ll suffer a sugar crash before lunch. High fiber foods will slow your body’s digestion of the sugars to prevent any energy-draining spikes in blood sugar. And don’t forget to always skim the ingredient list. A whole grain should be listed as the first ingredient—not sugar—and ensure there are no artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, or partially hydrogenated oils.