Are plain Cheerios healthy

Canton OH Chiropractor McMichael Chiropractic Natural Health & Wellness

Are Cheerios Heart Healthy?

Do you trust this honey bee?
The box says it's healthy, so it must be true. Right? Let's do the math according to the honey bee:

Honey Nut Cheerios + Low-fat Diet = Lower Cholesterol = Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Unfortunately for the honey bee, there are some problems with his math. First, we need a more accurate equation, so we'll include the ingredient list of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Whole Grains + Sugar + Modified Corn Starch + Honey + Brown Sugar Syrup + Salt + Tripotassium Phosphate + Canola and/or Rice Bran Oil + Natural Almond Flavor + Vitamin E as a preservative + Low-fat Diet = Lower Cholesterol = Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Some of the ingredients seem normal, but what do they all mean: Whole grains obviously don't grow in the shape of an "O", so "Processed Whole Grains" would be more accurate. Sugar is good old-fashioned-unhealthy white sugar. Modified Corn Starch is basically a sugar that can act as a thickener, stabilizer, or emulsifier. Honey used in processed foods is usually a highly processed sugar. Brown Sugar Syrup is white sugar with some extra processing. You can bet the salt used is chemically processed. Tripotassium Phosphate is a chemical used as a food additive for its properties as an emulsifier, foaming agent and whipping agent. Canola and Rice Bran Oil are processed oils. Natural Almond Flavor is usually a chemical called benzaldehyde processed from natural sources, such as peach and apricot pits, which may contain traces of hydrogen cyanide (not healthy). The Vitamin E used is a synthetically derived piece of the vitamin E complex that can act as a food preservative. Now we need to make a couple changes in our equation:

Processed Whole Grains + Processed White Sugar + Processed Corn Sugar + Processed Bee Sugar + Processed Brown Sugar + Processed Salt + Emulsifying Chemical + Processed Oils + Flavor Chemical + Synthetic Vitamin E + Low-fat Diet = Lower Cholesterol = Reduced Risk of Heart Disease


Plain Cheerios + Low-fat diet = Lower Cholesterol = Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Plain Cheerios has about 1/9th of the added sugars that Honey Nut Cheerios has and does not include the processed oils. Plain Cheerios is certainly healthier than Honey Nut Cheerios. So plain Cheerios and a low-fat diet improved heart health, right? Not exactly. Plain Cheerios and a low-fat diet reduced cholesterol over the short term. While this has been related to a reduced risk of heart disease in the past, newer research calls that link into question. A review of the latest studies showed that saturated fat is not related to heart disease...processed carbohydrates (sugars and grains) are related to heart disease. Don't choke on your bite of Cheerios.

Scientific evidence is growing that cholesterol is not the main culprit in heart disease, inflammation is. Processed sugars and grains increase inflammation levels and increase heart disease risk. Not only are the Cheerios likely to increase your risk of heart disease, but so is the low-fat diet you ate. Oops - at least your cholesterol is good.

Back to our equation. Time for some major changes:

Plain Cheerios + Low-fat diet = Lower Cholesterol NOT Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

There you have it. Don't trust a guy wearing stripes. Go eat some eggs with fruit & veggies for breakfast.
Hmmm...that doesn't sound right. Processed sugars, processed salt, and processed oils have been shown to increase inflammation, which increases the risk of heart disease. How could a sugar-coated processed cereal be healthy for your heart? Is that what Cheerios' research showed? Actually, no.

Cheerios paid Provident Clinical Research to run a small study that "monitored the diets of study participants for 12 weeks, and a clinical evaluation of their cholesterol levels showed coupling [plain] Cheerios with a reduced calorie diet significantly helps lower LDL cholesterol levels." More problems:
  1. Plain Cheerios were used in the study, not sugary Honey Nut Cheerios. There is no study we can find that shows any benefit to eating Honey Nut Cheerios.
  2. The Cheerios were eaten with a "reduced calorie diet". Did the Cheerios help or the diet help?
  3. Was the study done with one person or 100? Was it compared to a group that ate a "reduced calorie diet" without Cheerios to see if the Cheerios helped or the diet helped? What were the cholesterol numbers before and after? All these details seem to be unavailable from the private lab that performed the study. I have a problem trusting research that is unavailable for review and was paid for by the company that benefits from it.

We'll assume Cheerios' private study was valid (a rather big assumption). However, the honey bee lied. His dipper is full of heart-damaging processed sugars he's adding to your cereal, not raw honey. We have to change our equation to plain Cheerios without so much added junk:

Honey Nut Cheerios Ingredient Label