Growing up as a kid I totally fell for all the hype. I can actually remember thinking how cool I was when I ate a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. My mom was really into health and refused to buy us sugary cereal. However, after much convincing, my brother and I managed to get her to buy us a box in the summer at the cottage as a treat. I thought I was in heaven. Each spoonful tasted AMAZING! Now that I have stripped down the ingredient list I can see why. Honey Nut Cheerios is loaded to the brim with SUGAR!
In fact, this product contains so much sugar that according to a report by the Environmental Working Group, Honey Nut Cheerios contains more sugar than Chips Ahoy! Just 1 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios contains 12 grams of sugar and 3 Chips Ahoy! cookies contains 11 grams. I haven’t yet met a kid who doesn’t love eating dessert for breakfast. Have you?
When we undress this product to see if it looks good naked the facts are clear. This is a refined sugar-filled breakfast cereal that is not a healthy breakfast option.
Here is the list of ingredients in Honey Nut Cheerios:
Ingredients: Whole grain oat, sugar and/or golden sugar, oat bran, corn starch, honey, salt, golden syrup, calcium carbonate, high monounsaturated canola oil, trisodium phosphate, monoglycerides, tocopherols, wheat starch, natural almond flavour, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folate, iron.
Let’s undress a couple of these ingredients to see if they look good naked
The second ingredient in this cereal is sugar. On the box it indicates that there are 9 grams per 3/4 cup. However, I have watched a lot of people eat cereal and can tell you that many people consume more than this 3/4 cup serving size. In fact, Yale University came out with a study indicating that children ages 5 to 12 on average ate twice that much in a single sitting.
The name of the cereal, the image, and the marketing messages tricked me into believing I would be eating whole grains with a touch of honey. There is honey in this product, however, the sweet flavour is mainly delivered through white refined sugar, golden sugar, and the addition of golden syrup. And a lot of it! All of these sweeteners are heavily refined and processed. They lack beneficial nutrition and studies have shown that our high consumption of sugar has lead to the obesity epidemic we are currently facing in North America.
In fact, we have such a massive problem with sugar intake that the World Health Organization in 2014 suggested we reduce our sugar intake to 5% of our daily intake, which for an adult results in about 25g or 6 teaspoons and it could be as low as ½ of that for kids. According to the study conducted at Yale (that I talked about above), our 5-12-year-old children could be getting approximately 18 grams (or more) of sugar in a single bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and therefore consuming more sugar for breakfast than the World Health Organization recommends children consume in a whole day!
This appears to be a recipe for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
High Monounsaturated Canola Oil
Canola is a plant that was created from the rapeseed plant by scientists in the late 1960′s because they wanted to remove some of the rapeseed plant’s undesirable qualities. Canola oil was developed in Canada and now 80% or more of the canola oil crops are genetically modified and heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals like Roundup.
In addition most canola oil (and many other oils) are created using a hexane extraction method. Furthermore the oil goes through a refining phase which involves washing the oil with sodium hydroxide, a spinning and de-waxing process to make the oil look more clear, a bleaching stage to make it lighter in color, and a steam injection heating process to remove the canola odour.
You can check out this YouTube video demonstrating the production process (doesn’t look very natural to me!):
When a product lists “high monounsaturated” or “high oleic” canola oil on the ingredient list they are letting you know that they are using a canola oil that has been manipulated to remove a lot of the polyunsaturated fats. Food manufacturers use this type of oil for processed foods that need to be shelf-stable (like cereal). This is because polyunsaturated fats (which are healthy for us) are less shelf stable than monounsaturated fats.
Although this type of oil is likely better for us than partially hydrogenated oils which contain high amounts of trans fats, it is not a health promoting natural ingredient. When possible, I try to avoid canola oil, especially when the ingredient isn’t labelled as organic (therefore there is a higher probability it is genetically modified) or cold pressed.
The Bottom Line:
I’m thrilled that I didn’t grow up eating sugar-filled cereal, especially now that I know how harmful they can be to our health. Honey Nut Cheerios is often considered a healthier cereal option. However, when we undress the ingredients we can see that this is a product that doesn’t look very good naked! It is full of unhealthy sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Knowing what I know now, this is not a cereal I would eat for breakfast (try this instead), how about you?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below and help me spread the word about how much sugar is in Honey Nut Cheerios by sharing this article with your friends and family using the social media links below. Thanks for reading!