Healthy cereal: Which are the healthiest cereals? The best and worst cereals for your diet revealed

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  • Finding a healthy cereal for breakfast is a challenging task, as some of the most popular brands are filled with hidden sugars and other additives.

    To find the healthiest cereal, we’ve ranked 25 different cereals from best to worst. The rankings are based on their nutritional value, looking at serving size, calorific information, sugar and salt content, with particularly high or low nutritional scores highlighted throughout.

    Over the years, the health myths around breakfast foods have been debunked. Experts have weighed in on healthy cereal bars and whether Greek yoghurt is good for you, they’ve debated the positives and negatives around low calorie breakfasts to start the day. Now we know that what we eat in the morning should be high in nutrients and low in sugar, after multiple studies on the topic. But it’s actually more important than many people might think.

    Healthy cereals from best to worst, at a glance

    The healthiest cereal overall is Weetabix, finally answering the question of whether Weetabix is good or you. Although it might have a higher sugar content than other cereals, it’s got the lowest fat, saturated fat and salt score. It also scores well for the amount of calories per 100g, being almost half that of the worst overall cereal.

    • Best cereal overall: Weetabix
    • Best cereal for sugar content: Nestle Bitesize Shredded Wheat
    • Best cereal for saturated fat content: Kellogg’s Cornflakes

    While the worst cereal overall is Honey Monster Puffs, with 48.8g of fat and 610 calories per 100g. It also scores high on the amount of saturated fat, sugar count and has a high salt content.

    • Worst cereal overall: Honey Monster Puffs
    • Worst cereal for sugar content: Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
    • Worst cereal for saturated fat content: Honey Monster Puffs
    Cheerio cereal in bowl with milk being poured over it

    Credit: Getty

    “When we’ve spent several hours fasting through the night, our blood sugar is likely to be low on waking.” Liz Cooper, nutritional advisor at Bio-Kult, explains. “So it’s important to eat a breakfast that’s not going to cause a spike in our blood sugar level, as this could result in a slump by mid-morning and could potentially have us reaching for sweet snacks or caffeine to give us the energy boost we’ll no doubt need.”

    “Having these blood sugar peaks and troughs is not only detrimental to our energy, focus and concentration in the short-term, but it can ultimately have long-term health implications, such as increasing our risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.”

    A healthy cereal should contain the right balance of ingredients to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, Liz says. “This requires sufficient amounts of protein, healthy fat and fibre, which all further help towards supplying us with nutrients vital for functions such as hormone production, growth and repair and immune function.”

    Nutritional advisor Liz recommends bircher muesli and granola, as they are “free from added sugar and high sugar dried fruit. In fact, making your own granola is even better and often much more cost effective”. Other healthy breakfast ideas include porridge, omelettes and smoothies.

    To make our findings fair we have analysed the cereals from 100g portions, instead of the individual recommended serving size for adults or children, and haven’t included milk.

    Healthy cereal with fruit on top, apples and blueberries

    Credit: Getty

    A 100ml serving of milk has the following nutritional content:

    Whole milk:
    Calories: 66.9
    Carbohydrate: 4.7g
    Protein: 3.3g
    Fat: 3.9g

    Semi-skimmed milk:
    Calories: 50
    Carbohydrate: 4.8g
    Protein: 3.6g
    Fat: 1.8g

    Skimmed milk:
    Calories: 34
    Carbohydrate: 5g
    Protein: 3.4g
    Fat: 0.1g

    Which are the healthiest cereals? Healthy cereals ranked from best to worst: