Your Breakfast Cereal: Does it Serve its Purpose?

Your Breakfast Cereal: Does it Serve its Purpose?
Your Breakfast Cereal: Does it Serve its Purpose?

Your breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a night-long fasting, a wholesome breakfast will help pep you up for the day-long activities that will follow. A proper breakfast will set the tone for the day and will also get the metabolism going so that there is a smooth transition of the body from the inactive to the active state. Skipping breakfast is strongly discouraged as this will result in too much snacking that can have detrimental effects on health.

Your Breakfast Cereal – How Does It Look & Taste?

Breakfast cereals usually consist of processed grains and prepared with milk and sugar to make it more appetizing and palatable. Sometimes yogurt and fruits are also added to enhance the taste and nutritional content. The cereals come in a variety of attractive shapes and sizes. Machine processing can make them flaky, shredded or puffy in appearance. Sometimes, they receive a chocolate coating or sugar frosting prior to drying and packaging.

What are the Varieties of Breakfast Cereals Available?

Nowadays, there is a vast choice of breakfast cereals in the market, including many leading brands. Some of these are given below:

  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes / Crunchy Nut Cereal
  • Quaker Oats
  • Sante Crunchy Fruit Whole Grain Oat Flakes
  • Bagrry’s Crunchy Muesli
  • Vitalia Wheat Flakes
  • 24 Mantra Organic Ragi Flakes
  • General Mills French Toast Crunch / Cheerios
  • Patanjali Dalia

What Nutrients Does Your Breakfast Cereal Contain?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that a 100 g serving of a breakfast cereal can provide up to a fifth of the daily calorie intake (~2000 calories). The nutrient content of breakfast cereals is briefly discussed below:

  • Carbohydrates: Carbs contributes 22% of the daily intake. Sugar accounts for the majority of the calories in cereals.
  • Fats: Total fats contributes 10% of the daily intake. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are comparatively much higher than saturated fats. Moreover, most cereals are cholesterol-free, making them a healthy choice.
  • Proteins: These account for ~26% of the daily protein needs.
  • Dietary Fiber: Cereals are packed with dietary fibers and accounts for ~40% of the daily needs.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Cereals are high in iron and magnesium, moderate in calcium and vitamin B6, and low in sodium and potassium. Vitamins A, C, D, and B12 are absent altogether.

What are the FSSAI Regulations for Breakfast Cereals?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the apex body on food safety and standards in India, as per the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 has made the following recommendations with reference to breakfast cereals:

  • Dietary Fiber in the form of dextrin-soluble fiber can be used at the level of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
  • Oligofructose must not exceed 10% of the product in compliance with labeling declaration as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
  • Trehalose can be added between 0.5% to 10% of the product in compliance with labeling declaration as per the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.

Besides the above recommendations, the FSSAI has also fixed the upper limits of the under-mentioned components in breakfast cereals, as per the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011:

Food AdditiveRecommended Maximum Level
ASCORBYL ESTERS200 mg/kg
Acesulfame potassium1,200 mg/kg
Allura Red AC100 mg/kg
Aspartame1000 mg/kg
CurcuminGMP
Paprika OleoresinGMP
Brilliant Blue FCF100 mg/kg
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)200 mg/kg
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)100 mg/kg
CAROTENOIDS200 mg/kg
Caramel-III (ammonia caramel)50,000 mg/kg
Caramel-IV (sulfite ammonia caramel)2,500 mg/kg
β-Carotenes, vegetable400 mg/kg
Grape skin extract200 mg/kg
IRON OXIDES75 mg/kg
Neotame160 mg/kg
Propyl gallate200 mg/kg
PHOSPHATES2,200 mg/kg
RIBOFLAVINS300 mg/kg
SACCHARINS100 mg/kg
Steviol glycosides350 mg/kg
Sucralose1,000 mg/kg
Sunset yellow FCF100 mg/kg

Do Breakfast Cereals Serve their Purpose?

Some breakfast cereals are high in sugar and refined carbs. Sugar is an unhealthy component of our modern diet. Processed foods are the major source of sugar, of which breakfast cereals are a major contributor. High sugar is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and even cancer.

Most breakfast cereals are processed foods. Artificial processing by sugar-frosting or chocolate-coating leads to excessive consumption of sugar over and above the recommended dietary allowance. Many young children are becoming overweight or even obese due to the problem of over-eating, especially among the economically upwardly mobile classes in India.

Therefore, from the above discussion, we can safely say that whole grain breakfast cereals are a healthy option. These are far healthier than artificially processed ones. These cereals are usually packed with dietary fibers, but without the sugar, thereby ensuring a nutritious breakfast for you and your entire family.

How Can We Help?

Arbro Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. has NABL accredited and FSSAI approved laboratories with state-of-the-art instruments as well as highly trained technicians. Components of food samples, including breakfast cereals, are regularly tested with utmost precision. If you would like to use our testing services, please feel free to contact us through the contact form or call us now on +91-11-45754575. We will be happy to provide you with a proposal for the estimation of the chemical composition of your food samples, including breakfast cereals.

References

  1. Indian Council of Medical Research: Nutrient Requirements and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Indians: A Report of the Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 2009. National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.
  2. FSSAI Compendium of Food Additives Regulations: Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

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