That 'healthy' bowl of granola has more sugar than coke... and more fat than fries: Busting the diet food myths
Last updated at 10:00 PM on 21st May 2011
Combining rolled oats, brown sugar or honey, dried fruit, and nuts, granola is undoubtedly a delicious breakfast option. But is it a healthy one? Advice from experts is: Make sure you read the box carefully.
‘Most granolas are classified as high sugar, with more than 12.5g of sugar per 100g, much of which has been deliberately added to make it taste more palatable than the granola once found in health food shops,’ says Anna Raymond, dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. ‘Health guidelines recommend consuming no more than 90g of sugar in a day. Don’t be fooled by the addition of honey – it’s still a sugar, and no more healthy.’ With this in mind we asked Anna to examine six leading granolas available on the High Street, and give her verdict. The results may come as a surprise...
SULTANA AND NUTS GRANOLA BY PERTWOOD ORGANIC, £3.71, 500g
Ingredients: Oat flakes, sugar, sultanas, rapeseed oil, coconut, hazelnuts, honey, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
Nutrition (all figures given for 100g without milk unless indicated otherwise): 416 calories, 9.4g protein, 59.5g carbohydrate, (of which 23.8g is sugars), 15.6g fat (of which 4.8g is saturates), 7.6g fibre, 0.006g sodium.
Highest saturated fat: Although this initially looks healthy it has coconut in it which makes it more unhealthy
ANNA SAYS: Although this initially looks healthy, it has the highest saturated fat content of them all, which comes from the addition of coconut. A large portion of McDonald’s fries has only 2g of saturated fat and a hamburger just 3g. A bowl of this could contain half your saturated fat for the day.
However, the granola has good fibre content and the addition of seeds makes it healthier and more likely to fill you up compared to a fast-food breakfast.
HONEY GRANOLA BY DORSET CEREALS, £3.99, 600g
Think twice: Anna says this will not help you lose weight because of the high calorie intake
Ingredients: Oats, honey, sunflower seeds, blanched flaked almonds, rye flakes, grape seed oil, pecans, pumpkin seeds, natural vanilla extract, salt.
Nutrition: 484 calories, 12.6g protein, 51.2g carbohydrate (of which 13.1g is sugars), 25.4g fat (of which 2.8g is saturates), 5.6g fibre, <0.1g sodium.
ANNA SAYS: Roughly a third of your daily fat intake is in just 100g. But 100g doesn’t look like much – you’ll probably be putting around twice as much in their bowl. You could easily consume half your daily calorie allowance at breakfast. If you’re trying to lose weight, think twice before opting for this and if you do, make sure you weigh it out, or you may as well eat poached eggs and grilled bacon, which will have fewer calories and less fat.
PRET A MANGER HOT & WARMING GRANOLA, £1.99, 226g
Ingredients: Oats, wheatgerm, almonds, hazelnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, cinnamon, maple syrup.
Nutrition (includes semi-skimmed milk): 256 calories, 6.4g protein, 38.4g carbohydrate (of which 21.9g sugar), 8.8g fat (of which 1.8g is saturates), 3.5g fibre, 0.04g sodium.
ANNA SAYS: Government guidelines recommend that only 35 per cent of your calorie intake is fat. The 226g pot contains nearly a third of your daily allowance.
By grabbing this on the way to work, you’re also consuming almost a third of your daily calories in one go, which is fine if you don’t snack during the day – but most of us do. This also has the lowest level of fibre, you would be better off eating a bowl of muesli. A Starbucks chocolate muffin with chocolate sauce contains less fat and calories. The granola has added dried fruit and nuts so the addition of maple syrup seems extraneous.
High intake: This pot of granola, left, contains nearly a third of your calorie intake and the Super Nutty Granola has more fat content than a McDonald's bacon muffin
QUAKER OAT GRANOLA, £1.89, 600g
Ingredients: Rolled oats, sugar, softened raisins (raisins 9.8 per cent, humectant: glycerol), glucose syrup, vegetable oil, cereal pieces (rice flour, wheat flour, sugar), honey, colour (plain caramel) natural flavouring.
Nutrition: 420 calories, 8g protein, 72g carbohydrate (of which 23g are sugars), 9.5g fat (of which saturates 1.2g), 6.5g fibre, sodium, a trace.
ANNA SAYS: There are loads of other ingredients going on here and three different sorts of sugar added. A bowl of this could easily contain more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola. It has a lower saturated fat content than the others, but probably because there aren’t any nuts, meaning that the only beneficial ingredients are the cholesterol lowering oats and the raisins. You would be much better off eating a simpler and less sugary breakfast such as Weetabix, which also contains more fibre.
Good choice: The oats, fruit and nuts means it has a low Glycemic Index
FIG AND CRANBERRY GRANOLA BY THE FOOD DOCTOR, £2.99, 425g
Ingredients: Oat flakes, concentrated apple juice, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, golden linseeds, figs, juice-infused cranberries, rapeseed oil, chicory inulin.
Nutrition: 463 calories, 14.1g protein, 47.8g carbohydrates (of which 19.9g is sugars), 22.3g fat (of which 3.1g is saturates), 7.4g fibre, sodium, a trace.
ANNA SAYS: A good choice. The oats, fruit and nuts means it has a low Glycemic Index – the measure of how quickly glucose is absorbed into the blood stream. A low GI means you feel fuller for longer. The seeds are a good source of Omega 3 and 6, ideal if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Rapeseed oil is polyunsaturated fat, and the cereal is high in fibre – 24g is the recommended daily amount, so this gives you a great start.
JORDAN’S SUPER NUTTY GRANOLA, £3.99, 750g
Ingredients: British conservation grade wholegrain oat flakes, raw cane sugar, nuts (16 per cent) vegetable oil (rapeseed oil, certified sustainable palm oil), honey, sunflower seeds, natural flavouring.
Nutrition: 463 calories, 9.9g protein, carbohydrate 60.4g (of which 18.5g are sugars), 20.2g fat (of which 3.9g are saturates), 6.6g fibre, 0.1g sodium.
ANNA SAYS: Very high fat content – a McDonald’s bacon muffin contains less saturated fat. Granola is low sodium, which is a bonus, and to be fair much of the fat does come from nuts, providing better types of fat. Keep a tight control on portion sizes as a bowl of Coco Pops would probably contain less sugar.
Sugary: This could easily contain more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola but has lower saturated fat content than the others
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1389515/That-healthy-bowl-granola-sugar-coke--fat-fries-Busting-diet-food-myths.html#ixzz1N5GlS5Lr