Shopping for diet foods can be incredibly confusing, so to help you out with breakfast, I’d like to share some of the top cereals you should avoid for maximum weight loss. The cereal aisle at most stores contains over 100 types of cereal to choose from, and sadly, 99% of them are full of sugar, refined grains, and enriched with chemical-based nutrients that reverse your weight loss efforts. Most processed cereals wreak havoc on your blood sugar and trigger cravings or binges because your body digests them so quickly. Even those labeled as whole grain, fiber-rich, organic, gluten-free, low-fat, fat-free, and low calorie are still usually filled with sugar- a dieter’s worst nightmare. Remember that 1 gram of sugar on a nutrition panel is equal to 4 teaspoons of table sugar. Taking that into account, let’s look at some of the worst cereals you should avoid if you’re trying to whittle your waistline!
1. Cracklin’ Oat Bran
One of my old favorite cereals is also one of the worst cereals you should avoid on a diet. Cracklin’ Oat Bran is one of the sweetest, most delicious cereals you’ll ever get your hands on. It’s also loaded with unhealthy fats and has more sugar than most candy bars.
2. Smart Start
There’s simply nothing smart about this cereal, I assure you. Regardless of its name, Smart Start is higher in sugar than a plain Krispy Kreme doughnut. It's also very low in nutrients, despite claiming to have antioxidants.
3. Honey Nut Cheerios
This childhood favorite might seem harmless, but the label includes refined sugar before honey, and up to 9 grams of sugar total (36 teaspoons) in just one serving. If you have to have your Cheerios, stick with the plain flavor and sweeten it with 1/2 teaspoon of real honey or even better, stevia.
4. Froot Loops
You might have guessed this cereal is unhealthy for you, but sadly it now wears the “Made with Whole Grains” label, which might deceive you if you’re not careful. Froot Loops are still high in sugar (12 grams) and artificial colors and flavors, despite being made with whole grains.
5. Cocoa Puffs
While Cocoa Puffs are also made with whole grains, I assure you this cereal is nothing close to what a whole grain looks like- unless wheat is now with coated corn syrup. Cocoa Puffs contain 10 grams of sugar per serving and are full of artificial flavors and colors.
6. Lucky Charms
Despite that this childhood favorite also wears the whole grain label and contains more nutrients than it used to, it’s still loaded with corn syrup and fake ingredients. They make those marshmallows “magically delicious.”
7. Nature’s Path
This brand might seem like the healthier choice, but if you take a look at the ingredient labels on Nature's Path products, you'll quickly see the second ingredient in most varieties is evaporated cane juice (a.k.a. sugar) and the third ingredient is corn. Both of these high-glycemic ingredients can lead to weight gain and intense sugar cravings.
8. Frosted Mini-Wheats
One of America’s go-to healthy cereals is also loaded with sugar. Would you pour your milk over 44 teaspoons of sugar? That’s what you’re eating when you choose a cereal with at least 11 grams of sugar or higher, such as Frosted Mini-Wheats.
9. Raisin Bran
Sure, this well-loved cereal has whole wheat and real raisins, but it also contains 18 grams of refined sugar in one serving. That's equal to 72 teaspoons of sugar just in 3/4 cup!
10. Flavored Fiber One
The original Fiber One is one of the most harmless cereals on the market and one of the best for its fiber content. However, all the flavored varieties of Fiber One (and Fiber One bars) are incredibly high in sugar, despite being low-calorie. They also all contain artificial colors and flavors.
11. Cascadian Farm
Here is another brand of organic cereals that might seem like a healthy choice at first glance. Not so fast though! These products are still incredibly high in sugar. Don’t let the organic label fool you- sugar is sugar, organic or not!
These are not the only cereals you should avoid while you're watching your weight, but are some of the worst. Here’s a hint: if a cereal has more than 2-3 grams of sugar, you should put it back on the shelf if you're trying to lose weight. For the most diet-friendly option out there, nix the boxed cereals and go for a bowl of homemade rolled or steel-cut oats. Plain oatmeal has no sugar, is incredibly filling, and may even help you drop weight quicker than not eating it at all. Do you eat cereal? Which ones do you avoid for weight loss?