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Get more nutrition out of your cereal

May 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cereal boxes are often very colorful with slick ad campaigns boasting lots of goodness in the way of taste and health. Since cereal is hovering around $4 to $5, here are some facts on what you need from your box.First up: whole grains. Many boxes boast whole grain goodness and tell you how many grams of whole grains they contain, but watch out. Whole grain grams are not the same as fiber grams. A cereal can have 8 grams of whole grains but only 1 gram of fiber, which is an indication that there are also refined grains in the cereal.

Look for whole grain as the first ingredient on the list, which will indicate what the cereal contains the most of. Also, check to see if there's at least 3 grams of fiber for every 100 calories. When it comes to cereal, the more fiber, the better.

Cereal should be low or free of saturated fat. Normally saturated fat isn't found in grains, but some companies add so-called yogurt coating or chocolate that may contain palm or coconut oil in them. So look for no more than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.

Spin-offs of tried and true cereals don't need the added goodies like chocolate or so-called yogurt clusters, as the new additions are generally adding things you don't need. So stick to those originals.

The recommended daily amount of sugar in a whole day is 40 grams, or about 10 teaspoons of sugar, so you want a lot less in your cereal. You'll want no more than 8 grams of sugar, which is about 2 teaspoons, for the recommended serving size.

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