Last updated August 23, 2018 by Lisa Richards, CNC

Why You Should Avoid Most Packaged Cereal

Bowls of breakfast cereal

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast will give you enough energy to last you until lunchtime, keep your blood sugar stable, and provide lots of healthy nutrients to keep your immune and digestive systems healthy.

Faced with today’s hectic lifestyles, it isn’t always easy to make the healthy choice. Take a look at the cereal packets in your local store for a good example. Most of them make claims about their health benefits, but very few of them tell you the whole story. Today, I’m going to look at a few common cereal choices and how they may not be as healthy as they look (or claim).

Many breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and have a high gluten content, as well as including toxic ingredients like chemical preservatives and food colorings. These can affect your digestive health, lead to gut-related imbalances like Candida overgrowth, and have a serious impact on your long-term energy levels.

There are some healthier options in the breakfast cereal aisle. But, as always, it’s best to make your own cereal at home. That way you avoid the refined, processed ingredients that form large parts of most commercial cereals. I’m going to share three of my favorite breakfast recipes, and how to make them.

The most worrying ingredient in the following cereals is sugar. As well as allowing Candida albicans to grow and spread, sugar is a crucial part of biofilm creation. Most commercial cereals are loaded with various forms of sugar, and that’s what makes them a bad choice for you and your family.

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Cereal manufacturers are experts at marketing, and many of their products use health buzzwords like ‘whole grain’ in prominent places on their packaging. Learn to look past this, and always remember to inspect the ingredients list.

The following are examples of cereals that you may have thought were a healthy choice, but taking a closer look should make you think twice.

What’s In Your Commercial Breakfast Cereal?

Kellogg’s Froot Loops

The front of this cereal uses phrases like ‘Good source of fiber’, ‘Made with whole grain’, and ‘multi-grain cereal’. Must be healthy, right? But a quick look at the list of ingredients reveals the first (and largest) ingredient to be sugar.

But it must contain lots of fruit, right? Actually, no. There is no fruit at all listed in the ingredients. What your kids are really eating is nutritious ingredients like modified food starch, a coloring known as ‘yellow 6’ that is linked to increased cancer rates, and a preservative named BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene).

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran

Marketed as ‘heart healthy’ and an ‘excellent source of fiber’, Raisin Bran is not as good for you as it might look. The fourth and fifth ingredients are sugar and brown sugar syrup, meaning that a small 1 cup serving has 18 grams of sugars.

One trick that is often used by food manufacturers is to include several different types of sugar. That way, they can be listed further down the ingredients list where they might not be seen. If the sugar and brown sugar syrup were combined, perhaps they would be at the top of the list. And of course raisins are very high in naturals sugars too.

Golden Crisp

The full ingredient list for Golden Crisp is sugar, wheat, corn syrup, honey, caramel color, salt. That’s three different types of sugar in the top four ingredients. The second ingredient, wheat, is a glutenous grain that can irritate the gut, especially for those experiencing Candida Related Complex or some kind of gut irritation. And ‘caramel color’ has been linked to a weakening of the immune system.

All of these ingredients (apart from the salt!) are excluded from the Candida diet and feature on the list of foods to avoid.

This particular cereal choice was originally known as Sugar Crisp, for good reason. Golden Crisp sounds better, from a marketing point of view, but the ingredients don’t seem to have changed.

Ingredients To Watch Out For

While I have focused mainly on the sugar in these cereals, there are many other dangerous ingredients that can be found in supposedly ‘healthy‘ breakfast cereals.

These can be items such as BHT, high fructose corn syrup, colorings, preservatives, and anything that doesn’t sound like a real food.

To eat a healthy diet, you have to become an expert in reading and interpreting ingredient lists. For example, there are a huge number of different names for sugar, and cereal producers will often list these independently. Examples include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and many others.

Try These Healthier Options

There is no getting away from the fact that cold cereals are a great time saver. But they are probably not providing the nutrition you need, and they may even be damaging your overall health. Rather than spend your money on commercial cereals, why not make your own? It’s easier than you think.

Here is the list of my top 3 favorite healthy breakfast cereal recipes:

  1. Coconut granola
  2. Cinnamon Coconut Crisp
  3. Bircher Muesli

Coconut Granola

You can’t go wrong making your own granola. This recipe contains oat bran, which is a gluten-free, high-fiber cereal. Add in some antifungal ingredients like coconut oil and cinnamon, plus stevia for a little sweetness, and you have a delicious, nutritious breakfast.

The total cooking time is only 40 minutes, and you can make large batches in advance so they’re ready for your mornings. For the full recipe see here: Coconut Granola.

Cinnamon Coconut Crisp

You can make this homemade cereal quickly and easily, and there’s no disputing that it tastes great. It has healthy ingredients like almond flour and shredded coconut, and you can make it in advance.

Check out the full recipe here: Cinnamon Coconut Crisp Cereal.

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli is a great breakfast choice, whether you’re following a Candida diet or not. For an even healthier version, try this recipe that contains pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and chia seeds. Like the other breakfast ideas on this list, Bircher muesli can be made well in advance.

Here is the full recipe: Low Sugar Bircher Muesli.

Start Your Day The Right Way

Making the switch away from packaged, unhealthy breakfast cereals will take a little bit of work. But it’s well worth it when you start to notice the ingredients that you and your family are eating. Cut out the unhealthy start to your day, and replace it with a nutritious, tasty, homemade alternative. To beat your Candida and stop it from coming back, those packaged cereals have to go!

In our Ultimate Candida Diet plan, Dr. Eric Wood and I discuss lots of other strategies for improving your diet, finding alternatives to coffee and other stimulants, and giving your body the nutritious that it needs to get back to perfect health.

Filed under: Diet Tips
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  1. Laressa says:

    Thank you for the information I always like reading about cereal. But what about “health food” cereals like the kind at the health food stores? It would have been nice for you to touch on those since most women facing candida issues would probably not be going for the “kid cereal”, Golden Crisp, etc. And as far my personal knowledge goes I have heard those to be sometimes even worse.

    1. Lisa Richards says:

      It completely depends on the brand. Yes there are some cereals that may be OK, but be sure to check the ingredients label carefully!

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you!

    I’ve been realizing more and more that store-bought cold cereals have some weird things in them that we shouldn’t be eating if we want to be healthy. You’re helping me on my way to eating better!

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