Many Indians have finally realised that the good old parathas or poha or upma are not a good choice for breakfast and have started stocking up on breakfast cereals.
However it has been widely reported that not all breakfast cereals are healthy and most of the major brands of breakfast cereals are much worse choices than the parathas!
Breakfast cereals are available in different varieties like sugar-coated, chocolate coated which are high in sugar, including artificial colouring, salt, preservatives and , additives, which are detrimental for health. One must read the food label on the breakfast cereal packs carefully to spot unhealthy ingredients in them.
High Sugar content in Breakfast cereals
Many common breakfast cereals from market leaders like Kellogs and others contain a lot of added sugar. This is bad news which is made worse as many people believe that breakfast cereals do not contain sugar and therefore they add more sugar to it before consuming it.
There are many concerns related to breakfast cereals for kids as they are sugar-coated and chocolate-coated making it more appetising for them but harming their health in more than one way with high sugar levels.
Foodnetindia encourages you to home cook breakfasts, to not add sugar and asks you to add a lot of green vegetables, some whole fruit, nuts, eggs and other sources of nutrition to breakfast.
Whole grains and grain by themselves are not complete or proper sources of nutrition as they are very high in simple carbohydrates and have very high glycemic loads.
Breakfast cereals “fortified” with synthetic imitations of vitamins could be harming children, says a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Researchers from the consumer advocacy organisation maintain that many cereals, breakfast bars and other breakfast products marketed to children contain excess levels of synthetic vitamins that may harm vital organs and immune function in the long run.
The reason why this is a problem is that each of these key nutrients, when consumed in synthetic form, poses potential health risks. Too much synthetic vitamin A, for instance, can potentially cause liver damage, skeletal abnormalities, peeling skin, and/or hair loss. And too much synthetic zinc can block the absorption of bioavailable copper, which is necessary for proper immune function.
Pesticide, weedicide and fungicide residues
This is a significant problem in India where indiscriminate use of pesticides and storage fungicides are very common by poorly educated farmers and grain traders.
GM ingredients in Breakfast cereals
The breakfast cereal companies are increasingly using GM modified ingredients in Cereals and breakfast bars. It is very likely that breakfast cereals have GM engineered ingredients because they are usually made with corn and soya products.
When purchasing breakfast cereals always buy non-corn and non-soy cereals and choose unsweetened products which clearly mention on their packs that GM ingredients have not been used or sweetened with honey or 100% cane sugar.
While it is not proven that GM foods are harmful and the FDA classifies them as safe, there are many people who do not think so. At foodnetindia, we like to err on the side of caution and are also advocates of the freedom of choice. People have the right to know if a product has GM ingredients and must have the freedom to choose to buy it or reject it.
Another problem with GM foods is weedicide residue, which is decidedly classified as harmful by everyone, even if the GM food is not.
OTA in Oats
Your nutritious and favourite breakfast cereal oats has been found to be contaminated with health-harming moulds. According to a new study from the American Chemical Society which analysed almost 500 breakfast cereals made with various grains, and found that oat-based cereals were found to contain worrisome levels of a common toxic mould called ochratoxin A (OTA) that has been linked to cancer.
Scientists do not yet know how the toxin affects human health, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organisation, classifies it as a possible human carcinogen.
We at foodnetindia also urge you to read carefully the food labels on the cereal boxes to look out for harmful additives, preservatives, sugar, trans fats and synthetic vitamins.