What’s wrong with cereals for breakfast? I could equally ask, what is right with them? Do they represent value for money? Are they a good source of nutrition? Do they give lasting energy?
Cereal makes a popular breakfast. We see lovely adverts with golden fields, happy families, a glorious stream of pure white milk splashing over the bowl of soggies. And children skipping off to school. In fact, cereals are a shameful scam. Looking on-line, I found a 700g box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies from Tescos for £3.69, which equates to 0.53p per 100g. I also found a 5kg bag of Tilda Long Grain Rice for £8.00, which equates to 0.16p per 100g. And I very much doubt that Kelloggs pay as much as that for their rice, given the economies of scale. If money is an issue, we would be better to boil up some rice and have that for breakfast. Rice Pudding! Actually, rice pudding makes a healthier breakfast than Rice Krispies when we look at the manufacturing process of Rice Krispies and other puffed or splattered cereals (e.g. Cornflakes).
This manufacturing process destroys any natural nutrition in the grains. Worse, it changes the chemical structure of the food so it is now a poison. In order to puff up these breakfast cereal, the grains are subject to tremendous pressure between a pair of steel rollers, and cooked at high temperatures. These two things change the chemical structure of the proteins in the cereal, making them toxic to us and our children. And if a puffed cereal is made from whole grains, it is even more toxic since whole grains contain more protein, so therefore contain more poisons. I have already written a blog on a couple of studies done on rats in which the rats eating the cereals died before the rats fed on the box or on water only. The cereals involved were puffed wheat and cornflakes. Click on the link to read about the studies – utterly remarkable stuff. In these studies, the lucky rats were given water with their cereal and not skimmed, pasteurised, homogenised milk – again, the process of homogenisation and pasteurisation heat and destroy the cow’s milk’s wholesomeness. Are we humans really designed to drink this stuff?
Next: yes, they have added ‘vitamins’ – any vitamins in the original ingredients having been destroyed in the preparation process – but these vitamins are appalling for health being either synthetic or raw. For good health, our vitamins need to come in forms our body’s recognise and not in synthetic versions. We are not meant to eat iron in its raw form, called elemental iron, but as it appears in real food, where it arrives attached to a protein.
Finally we come to the question, do these cereals give lasting energy? The short answer is, no. The prime reason being the lack of sustaining protein and fat. I remember in the years when I used to eat cereals for breakfast, eating a bowl of soggies (better known as cornflakes) and being really hungry almost immediately afterwards and wanting more and more. And the reason why is that a cereal and low fat milk breakfast is a breakfast that shoves up blood sugar, so we temporarily feel just great. That is why these things are so popular with both adults and children. However, what shoots up must crash down and mid morning easily sees us head down, bottom up, in the biscuit tin. Of course, the poor children are having to concentrate at school and not be naughty – or just day dream the day away. Difficult when all they can think about is chocolate bars and coca cola because that is what their blood sugar starved brains are craving.
Of course there is the argument that high fibre cereals are more sustaining – which to a certain extent they are. But, manufacturing processes apart, the fibre in these cereals contains anti-nutrients called phytates. Phytates attach to such minerals as zinc, iron and calcium in the digestive tract and remove them from the body. Not good. To disable the phytates requires long soaking, or long SLOW cooking.
And, most heinous of all are the sugar coated cereals. Sugar is highly addictive and utterly destructive in all but the smallest quantities. Again I have written more detailed blogs on these subjects. And if simple cornflakes or rice krispies put us onto a blood sugar roller coaster, this roller coaster is a park slide compared to the roller coaster ride a really sugary cereal gives. Plus the more sugar we eat, the more we crave and the nicer it tastes – and the more boring normal food tastes. We become the food companies’ plaything.
So, what is right with breakfast cereal? Nothing. The box contains more nutrition. Are toast or oats any better? Next week’s exciting episode explodes lovely, lovely toast.