Doctor reveals healthiest breakfast cereal – and the ‘worst’ is a surprise

By Staff 7 Min Read

Many of us grab a bowl of cereal in the morning without giving it a second’s thought. Here, a doctor explains why a ‘bowl of the good stuff’ may not necessarily be the right decision

Many of us Brits love to start the day with a bowl of cereal.

Its simple convenience allows us to prepare a satisfying start to the day without extensive cooking or preparation, making it the go-to choice for those with hectic schedules. The welcoming ‘bowl of the good stuff’ also offers a wide variety of flavours and textures, whether it’s crispy flakes, hearty granola, or creamy oatmeal, there’s a cereal option to suit every taste and craving.

Moreover, cereal often contains essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre, contributing to a balanced breakfast that helps us feel energised and ready to tackle the day ahead. But while this all sounds like the ideal to start the day, a doctor has warned that plenty of cereals may not be as nutritious as you think.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Doctor Deborah Lee – from the Doctor Fox Online Pharmacy – revealed the very best and worst cereals for your health.

“You simply can’t beat a bowl of porridge oats,” she said. “Oats are a type of whole grain – this means the grains are unrefined. Each kernel still contains the three components – the germ, the bran and the endosperm. Oats are regarded as unprocessed foods. If they do undergo any form of processing, this is only minimal.

“Steel-cut oats have simply been sliced into smaller pieces, and rolled oats have been steamed and flattened to reduce their cooking time. Instant oats are rolled oats that have been precooked, flattened and dried. We should all be eating less processed and ultra-processed food.”

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Dr Lee also explained that oats are:

  • Able to help you feel fuller for longer – aiding weight loss efforts
  • High in protein and fibre
  • Able to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels

To make your porridge as good for you as possible, Dr Lee suggested making it with milk for its calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and protein content.

She continued: “Adding fresh fruit such as bananas or berries is a great way to start getting your five a day, and adds healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Nuts and seeds, when added to porridge, provide healthy unsaturated omega-3 fats, as well as vitamins B and E, zinc, magnesium and more fibre.”

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So if porridge is the best cereal, which one is the worst? Interestingly, it isn’t the sugar-laden big-name cereals but the rather understated granola with added chocolate.

Dr Lee said: “The unhealthiest breakfast cereals are breakfast cereals loaded with sugar and fat, with a high-calorie content. The British Heart Foundation has identified granola with chocolate as the least healthy cereal option. A 50g serving of granola with chocolate contains 227 calories, and 6.8g of saturated fat. But add 125ml of full-fat milk, and this is another 81 calories and 4.6 g of fat. In total – 308 calories and 11.8g of saturated fat.”

This means that one bowl of chocolate granola equates to half a child’s total daily saturated fat intake, as well as their whole recommended sugar intake, raising the risk of obesity. She added: “Children (and adults) need to choose sugar-free, high-fibre cereals, containing unsaturated healthy fats.

“These can be a great source of nutrition and give a slow release of energy throughout the day, helping them not to feel hungry so they can concentrate at school, and work and play. Chocolate should only be eaten in small quantities occasionally as a treat and is definitely not needed in breakfast cereal.”

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