Sweeteners – It’s what’s for breakfast

I like to start my day with a bowl of high fiber cereal, kefir yogurt (or greek yogurt or skim milk), and berries.  I have a bowl of that, one egg, my vitamins, and coffee.  Coffee is optional.  I have tried not to develop a coffee/caffeine habit, but I think it’s inevitable when you’re in medical school.  At the very least, I try to stay away from caffeine on weekends.  I can’t say I’m always successful.

But, back to the point of this post.  Cereal.  I eat high fiber cereal for breakfast.

Well, today I went to the grocery store to replenish my dwindling cereal supply.  (Right now, I’m not eating a particularly high fiber cereal, but I am eating a tasty pumpkin and flaxseed cereal.  As long as I’m in the healthy range of things, I’m good.)  I went to pick up a box of All Bran and then saw the Fiber One on sale.  So, I picked up both boxes and compared the nutrition facts.  Well, in that process, I glanced down at the ingredients and I nearly fell over when I found out that All Bran has high fructose corn syrup in it!  The cereal that so many people have told me tastes like cardboard is loaded with high fructose corn syrup!  And then in another interesting twist, the Fiber One cereal has aspartame in it!

Hello, people, what are we doing?!?!?!  This is breakfast cereal.  The thing that is supposed to be all wholesome and good for you.  I’m not even talking about your regular kid’s stuff that is loaded with sugar.  I’m talking about the supposedly good for you, high fiber cereal that people try to stay away from because it tastes bad.

This is why ingredient lists need to be  read along with the nutrition facts.  Even a supposedly healthy product like high fiber breakfast cereal has ingredients that you would have never guessed hiding out inside of them.

Conclusion:  I went with Kashi GoLean cereal.  Sure, the stuff has sweeteners in it, but at least it’s stuff I recognize and not substances that are known to cause cancer in rats (aspartame) or substances that are man made (high fructose corn syrup).  I want my food to be food, whole food.  This is why I usually don’t eat prepared foods.

The next time you decide to eat something because it’s good for you, take a closer look at the ingredients.  What you find may surprise you.  I sure was surprised today.

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