Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Lessons from the Grocery Store: Multi-Grain Cheerios

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I went to pick-up some delicious energy gels for my impending marathon. At the running store I was given a sample of Multi-Grain Cheerios and a little booklet with a coupon. While Multi-Grain Cheerios are far from the worst cereal you could be eating, they’re definitely not the best either.

I found it interesting that the sample provided was 20 grams. That’s not a whole lotta cereal. I would eat at least a cup (a little bit more than 30 grams) and I’d probably be hungry in less than an hour. That’s because I’d probably be consuming fewer than 200 calories. Great for a snack but not for a meal, especially breakfast which is the foundation of the day.

Cheerios main claim to fame (which is debatable) is the cholesterol lowering properties of oat fibre. By creating a multi-grain cereal they’ve pretty much eliminated that benefit of their cereal. Whole grains are definitely the best form in which to get your grains but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any food made from whole grains is going to be healthy. These Multi-Grain Cheerios boast that they’re made from five whole grains. Great, but when you look at the ingredient list the first “whole grain” is corn, next is wheat. The third ingredient is not even a grain. Can you guess what it is? That’s right, sugar! Followed by oat, hulled barley, and rice. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that sugar should be one of the main ingredients in your breakfast. In my mind, whole grains should also be, well, whole. If you’re consuming them as processed flour, as in these Cheerios, you’re doing better than if you were eating white flour, but only a little bit. They’re still processed whole grains and they have all that added salt and sugar to make them palatable. Try going for a truly whole grain cereal like steel-cut oats or quinoa (yep, you can eat it like oatmeal), Red River, or if you prefer a cold cereal go for something like shredded wheat, the only ingredient is wheat.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

5 thoughts on “Lessons from the Grocery Store: Multi-Grain Cheerios

  1. Multigrain Cheerios are a farce. And what’s with Chocolate Cheerios? I thought the whole point of Cheerios was “less than 1gram of sugar per serving”; Multigrain Cheerios have 4g per 20g, not a great ratio! I have tried them and don’t care for them.

    Quinoa for breakfast? Interesting. Can you do steel-cut oats in a rice cooker, like you would with Quinoa? :-)

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  2. I really like the Multigrain cheerios. I’m someone who is severely overweight. So in my situation, they are MUCH better for me than the old stand bys. I’m getting grains that I don’t ;usually get. I think it’s great we can express our opinions, because everyone is different. I know, too, that for a sweet snack, they have much less fat and sugar than a snickers bar, lol…it has taken me almost a year to lose 30 pounds. But, I don’t go hungry. I don’t have to have drugs to help with appetite. I feel good “doing it on my own”, so to speak. Incidentally, I love Shredded Wheat, as well…the frosted kind, of course. But again, much better for me than the junk I would typically eat! My family can have that slice of chocolate cake….I’ll take my cereal. :)

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    • Congratulations on your success Dana. Multi-grain Cheerios are certainly not the worst thing a person could eat. I just don’t think 20 grams is a sufficient breakfast and their marketing is misleading people into believing that they’re more nutritious than they are. However, if you’re satisfied and following a balanced diet then that’s great!

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