It’s wild how much more we’ve learned about proper nutrition since our childhood days, especially when it comes to breakfast options. We thought so many of our cereal choices were super healthy when, in reality, they lacked important protein and fiber, and spiked our blood sugar in some serious ways. (Sorry for being so psychotically hyper, Mom.)
Here are seven of the sneakiest offenders on that breakfast cereal shelf when it comes to nutrition (but still taste oh-so-delicious).
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1. Raisin Bran
Raisins? Healthy. Bran? So healthy it tastes like cardboard. Yet, Raisin Bran isn’t necessarily a nutritionally sound choice. Somehow, there are 18 grams of sugar in a 1-cup serving! But at least it supplies 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein — that’s where the bran comes in.
Ah, this classic sounds like the perfect marriage of oats, corn flakes and natural sweetness from friendly honeybees. However, a single, three-quarter cup serving has only 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. It also has 6 grams of sugar, which isn’t horrendous, but most people pour themselves a double serving (at least) without realizing it, hitting half of their daily recommended sugar consumption before 10 a.m.
Anyone who dared to eat shredded wheat as a kid thought they were the picture of health. But the frosting on these babies sets you back a solid 11 grams of sugar when you consume a 21-biscuit serving. And let’s be honest, no one is counting out 21 biscuits into their cereal bowl — that’s just absurd. They do pack the protein and fiber, though, so cheers to that.
This Chex mix favorite is so perfectly sweet that it’s surprisingly addicting. A three-quarter cup serving contains 9 grams of sugar, and again, we typically pour double that into our bowls. The fiber content is also very low at a single gram and the protein content is lacking with just 2 grams. So sure, it’s a gluten-free option, but that doesn’t really mean much in the way of nutrition.
Your mom’s favorite “light and healthy cereal” isn’t the dieting dream you probably imagined it to be. One cup has 9 grams of sugar alongside a limited 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. So she isn’t breaking the bank with sugar necessarily, but she’s definitely hungry again within an hour or so. Womp.
We see the word “multigrain” and naturally think, “Oh, this is healthy!” But the truth is that you’re better off sticking with classic Cheerios. Outside the gluten-free grain variety, this cereal lists sugar as its third ingredient and it includes 6 grams per 1-cup serving. And, the fiber and protein contents aren’t impressive enough to make up for its sugar rush.
Granola is so often an offender because it’s naturally calorically dense and requires a sugary substance like honey to hold its tasty clusters together. This option from Cascadian Farms is organic, but it also includes a serious 14 grams of sugar per two-thirds cup serving. The 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber are nice, though.
As you can see, the main offender throughout this list is sugar. It’s what our Western taste buds have evolved to crave, which is why we think these options are so damn tasty. But it’s important to keep this nutritional point in check, especially when you’re starting your day. We won’t tell you to never indulge in these childhood favorites, but we don’t advise spooning them on a daily basis, either.
This article originally appeared on Swirled.
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