Is Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal Really Heart-Healthy?

Is Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal Really Heart-Healthy?

Honey nut cheerios cereal recently got my attention when I worked on a child care facility menus and had to follow federal Child and Adult Day Care Menu Program (CACFP) guidelines. And I was surprised to learn that Honey Nut Cheerios cereal did not qualify for the CACFP program requirement. In fact, I was very sad that this cereal has been a regular part of our grocery list and comes in very handy in the morning. Therefore, I decided to dig a little further and give this cereal a health test under our Food Rating System (Food Coach).

Health Rating for Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal per our Food Coach:

Our Food Coach rated this cereal as a Red Dot-Watch Out food due to following healthy and not-so-healthy qualities.

Heart-Healthy qualities of Honey Nut Cherries Cereal:

  • Moderate in calories per serving
  • A healthy balance of fat
  • Contains zero trans fats.
  • Contains heart-healthy fiber
  • Good source of calcium (10% of daily value)
  • Excellent source of iron (20% of daily value)
  • Good source of Vitamin D (10% of daily value)

*However, this cereal was found to have the following unhealthy qualities that may have negative health effects if consumed unconsciously! 

Not Heart-Healthy Qualities of Honey Nut Cherries Cereal:

  • High in sodium (210 mg per serv (9% of daily value)

Honey Nut Cheerios cereal can not be considered low sodium food. Our Food Coach recommends no more than 115 mg sodium per 100-125 calories on a generally healthy diet. A high sodium diet is believed to increase blood pressure which is a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Web MD also recommends buying foods of 5% daily value or less of sodium for heart health.

  • High in carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are vital to health but honey nut cheerios appear to have too many carbs for their calorie level per serving. Food Coach recommends about 15-20 grams of total carbohydrates per 100-125 calories to maintain healthy blood sugars and a healthy weight and healthy heart on a generally healthy diet.

  • High in added sugars

The honey nut cheerios cereal has 12 grams (24 % of daily value) added sugar per serving which is about half of the daily sugar recommendation. American Heart Association recommends only 25-gram daily sugar for women and 36 gram for men. Chronic consumption of high sugar diet can lead to health problems such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Our Food Coach recommends no more than 2.5 grams added sugar (5% of daily value) per 100-125 calories on a generally healthy diet. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends less than 10% of added sugar of daily calories.

Also, be aware that Honey Nut Cheerios contains some added ingredients, preservatives, and artificial flavors.

Ingredients are usually added to the main food group to preserve flavor, modify texture, and enhance the food’s color or nutritional value. Food and color additives are regulated and monitored by the food and drug administration in the United States. However, you may want to watch out for any unfamiliar added ingredient/s. The purpose as some added ingredients may overpower the natural state of the food and short circuit your brain to overindulge it. We recommend whole food consumption in its clean and natural state to promote healthy eating as a lifestyle for optimal nourishment.

Similarly, artificial flavors and colors are usually added to food by manufacturers to enhance its appearance and taste. In the United States, these additives must pass a range of safety tests before they could be legally added to any edible food product/s. However, these substances remain the ongoing topic of discussion in the health and wellness industry due to their possible negative health effects.

Dietitian Nutritionist Recommendation:

Consumers: Honey Nut Cherries cereal may be incorporated into your diet but should be consumed with caution especially if you are monitoring your sugar and sodium intake. No one food is perfect and balance and mindful eating is the key. So, you need to include foods from all food groups on a generally healthy diet (whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, fish, beans, legumes, lentils, and low-fat dairy) with minimally added sugar, fat, salt, and other food additives.

Check out our  Medical Nutrition Therapy for the diet plan that is right for you!

If you need to know the healthy and not-so-unhealthy qualities of any product then check out our Food Coach!

Manufactures: As a dietitian, I wish all box food products to come with a health dot with some explanation of their healthy and not-so-healthy qualities so the consumers can make an informed decision before purchasing. We would love to assist through our Food Coach program if desired:-)

Disclaimer: Please note that this food rating is not medical advice. This can only be used as general guidance to a healthy and balanced diet for your health and wellness. This food does not ensure an adequate or inadequate and safe level of intake for a single person. Please consult your health care provider before following any diet plan to ensure your personal medical, nutritional needs. Thank you!

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