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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Go on have a doughnut for breakfast!

Last Friday, Katie was talking to you about how media are trying to tell us something that they want us to believe through 'catchy' titles and a bit of controversy. Well, here we go again! On Monday we were hit by some seriously scary news on BBC website yet again, claiming that "Many cereals have more sugar than desserts"... They talk about how nation's favourite Crunchy Nut or Coco Pops or even Special K have more sugar in them than ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake.

How comes, you'd automatically think - we've been told for so many years that full of vitamins and minerals cereals are the best thing to have for brekkie. And how quick and easy is that to have in the morning ... Box out of the cupboard, bowl, milk, spoon, DONE!

What would you think if I told you that yet again we have all been fooled by massive cereal making corporations and our own well trusted (NOT!) governments.

Let me explain. To start with any processed, man made cereal will always be nearly 100% sugar! Most of us will associate sugar with the white or brown grainy substance we put in the morning cuppa. Well that is one form of it. Looking from the nutritional and biochemical angle all carbohydrates divide into:

- simple carbohydrates (all referred to as sugars)

monosaccharides - glucose, fructose, galactose

disaccharides - sucrose, lactose and maltose

- complex carbohydrates

polisaccharides - multiple carbohydrate molecules joined together in long, complicated branched chains

- fibre (soluble and insoluble)

Now, most cereals consist of simple and what's even worse, refined carbohydrate. Even if you choose the whole grain option it's not actually a whole grain produce you are going for but a processed artificial version of it which your body does not really know what to do with anyway. Sometimes cereal producing giants will go as far as simply putting some food dye into the cereal to make it look darker, therefore healthier. The same trick applies to bread believe it or not. Therefore knowing as little as the above carbohydrate forms it becomes simple and clear how it actually is possible for the beloved cornflakes, rice krispies or whatever you would usually munch on to be full of sugar ... well it's all sugar, DOH!

Next thing is that you may want to think to yourself, ok now that I know what a cereal actually is - simple carbohydrate, what is fruit then? Well it is simple carbohydrate too and it's also full of vitamins and minerals, but those that were perfectly put together by nature, not made in a lab. When was the last time you saw a cereal field when you went to the country?

Now, that you may find controversial but I would actually go as far as choosing good quality ice cream over cereal, simply because it will have some fat in there that will slow down the sugar release to the blood stream reducing insulin spikes (contributing to body fat storage). That is of course if the only choice was either cereal or ice cream. And no, I am not trying to tell you to have doughnuts or ice cream for breakfast.

Looking at some history, cereals only came about in the second half of the 19th century and the first ever cereal was produced in 1863 in the United States and was named 'Granula'. Now, human digestive systems adapt to new substances in the diet very slowly. Just think of how long have humans been eating meat, fruit and veg for... millions of years. Cereal grains in the North West only boomed about 3000BC together with the agricultural revolution. That is still nowhere near enough for human genomes to adjust and get used to it, which is even worse when talking about breakfast cereal that have been around for less than a century and a half. It may be worth to mention that before cereal age, traditional breakfast consisted of cooked eggs, bacon, sausage and beef, yet obesity was nonexistent.

In the BBC article I am ranting on about, we're being warned about making wise choices and reading the labels... Well those of you who are following my nutritional escapades may well remember one of my first blogs back in October, where I was talking about how reliable food labelling in this country actually is. For those who have not read it before, don't be blinded by the traffic lights - enjoy! What about some common sense then?

Also, the Kellog's spokeswoman claims that breakfast cereals are low in fat (ARGH!!!), low calorie (double ARGH!!!) and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre (well, yeah, the artificially man made rubbish). She also claims they are the primary source of some nutrients such as iron for children in the UK." What else would you expect her to say if nothing else but cereal fills up her pocket every month ...

Dear Ms Spokeswoman, what about making your kid organic eggs and soldiers (rye bread of course) with some steamed spinach (isn't that a primary NATURAL source of iron after all) and a juicy, fresh piece of fruit for breakfast? I'll go for that, thank you!

Till next week.

Marta :)


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