As important as breakfast is to start each day, many of us don’t get breakfast quite right. For many, breakfast might include a muffin or a bagel and a cup of coffee, or many others just skip it altogether. For busy lives, breakfast either gets overlooked or just plainly dealt with nonchalantly. This has become especially true even for many children these days, who might be lucky to have a piece of fruit or toast for breakfast during the week. One popular breakfast staple in North America is the breakfast cereal, and one brand claims to be one of the healthiest cereals along the breakfast aisle.
Honey Nut Cheerios are one of the few flavored variations of General Mills’ original Cheerios cereal. It contains honey and almond flavors and is characteristically much sweeter than its predecessor. Honey Nut Cheerios was originally made with nuts as a primary ingredient. However, this was discontinued in 2006 to attract cereal consumers with various nut allergies. The appeal of Honey Nut Cheerios comes from its flavor in comparison to the original Cheerios, which were already known to be a healthy breakfast option. The question remains as to how healthy Honey Nut Cheerios really are especially with how sweet they taste. Setting taste aside for the meantime, Honey Nut Cheerios does have health benefits, enough to say that it is generally safe to have it for breakfast every so often.
A source of fiber
Just like the original Cheerios, the Honey Nut variation happens to be a good source of soluble fiber. Fiber comes from plants and vegetables and has two kinds: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber doesn’t break down as it goes through the digestive system and works to solidify stool. It helps regulate bowel movements. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance that works to slow down the process of digestion. This helps in the regulation of blood sugar in the body. Honey Nut Cheerios are a good source of soluble fiber, and this is the main reason how the manufacturing company can claim that eating the cereal can help lower cholesterol levels and in turn reduce a person’s risk for heart disease. Honey Nut Cheerios uses whole grain oats, which contain more soluble fiber than any other types of grains.
A source of nutrients
While most cereals in the breakfast aisle have more calories than nutrients, Honey Nut Cheerios happen to be fortified with essential vitamins to make them count. Even a bowl in the morning can make a difference for a person throughout the day. All General Mills’ Cheerios cereals are fortified with folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and vitamins A, C, D, B6, and B12. These nutrients are essential to bring the body to its most optimal working condition. One cup of Honey Nut Cheerios can provide approximately 10 to 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of some vitamins, up to over 30 percent of some B vitamins, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, and an impressive amount of up to 67 percent of folic acid. Compared to other cereals, Honey Nut Cheerios has a good amount of nutrients.
In addition, Honey Nut Cheerios are also fortified with iron. Iron serves as one of the main components of hemoglobin, which is what carries oxygen in the blood to be distributed throughout the body. Insufficient amounts of iron in the body leads to anemia, a condition that causes fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. A single cup serving of Honey Nut Cheerios can provide up to 45 percent of the recommended daily intake for iron, a great amount in comparison to other cereal brands.
Regardless of the benefits Honey Nut Cheerios can provide, the cereal is still processed food. The whole grain ingredients in the cereal are still processed as well as the processed oils and synthetic vitamins. The problem here is that there are no real natural ingredients as majority are either chemically processed or synthetically derived. When it comes to food, the less processing it goes through, the better it will be for the body.
The next issue with Honey Nut Cheerios might actually negate all its benefits. When compared to the original plain Cheerios’ 1 gram of sugar per serving, the Honey Nut variation contains 9 grams of sugar per serving. If that were not enough, the sugar content from the nutrition label lists the following: sugar, modified corn starch, honey, and brown sugar syrup. These are all different types of processed sugar, and each one counts towards the total of 9 grams per serving. There isn’t anything heart healthy with regards to that much sugar incorporated into a diet, especially if the sugars aren’t even natural. For something as simple as cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios can then be compared to other cereal brands notorious for their sugar content such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Kellog’s Froot Loops.
The fact of the matter is breakfast should be majority protein and less of everything else. Incorporating Honey Nut Cheerios in a breakfast meal should be passable occasionally, but it should never be the main course. Having only Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast is much like eating fiber and sugar as a meal. Although the cereal is fortified with vitamins and other nutrients, Honey Nut Cheerios has very minimal protein content and too much sugar content. Nothing can truly replace a traditional breakfast of eggs with some fruits or even a breakfast smoothie of fruits and vegetables. Having cereal for breakfast should just be a side, and if you were to choose a cereal, there are certainly better alternatives than Honey Nut Cheerios. If you are a Cheerios fan, opt for the original plain Cheerios instead.
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