Why Cereal is NOT Your Best Breakfast Bet (And What To Eat Instead for Optimal Weight & Health)

A new study would like you to believe that cereal is the best way to start your day. However, what they don’t tell you are the REAL cereal nutrition facts that make it anything but nutritious. Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates shares the truth about cereal and 6 of the best options for your weight optimizing, healthy breakfast.

A recent study, sponsored by General Mills, a leader in the US ready-made cereal industry, found that (surprise!) “Eating cereal at breakfast time can help people manage their weight and eat more healthily throughout the rest of the day.”[1]

The study further suggested that eating cereal at breakfast increased the consumption of fiber and milk, while reducing the consumption of meat, eggs, bread and fatty foods.

What’s so interesting about this study is the company who sponsored it: General Mills.

Scientific studies have been scrutinized for many years for conflicts of interest from companies that sponsor the studies. In 2003, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) scrutinized the field of biomedical research, finding “a statistically significant association between industry sponsorship and pro-industry conclusions.”[2]

In a 2004 review The Canadian Medical association also found that industry-sponsored studies swayed study results.[3]

And the debate continues today…

The thing is, that headlines often make people believe what the study is saying. In this particular case, I definitely don’t agree that refined, extruded cereal is the key to optimal weight and health. Here’s why…

Why Breakfast Cereal is NOT the Key to Optimal Weight and Health

Before deciding whether to eat breakfast cereal or not, it’s import to know some key cereal nutrition facts that most companies won’t tell you:

  1. Breakfast cereals go through an extrusion process. This manufacturing procedure that makes all the o’s, flakes, biscuits, and other shapes of cold cereals actually destroys the fatty acids and vitamins in grains. Extrusion also alters the structure of amino acids, making them toxic.
  2. Most breakfast cereal grains are genetically modified (GM). Most conventional cereals will have GM components that can harm your health. Read more about the risks of genetically modified foods.
  3. Breakfast cereal grains are Improperly prepared and contain phytic acid. Ancient cultures have fermented, soaked and sprouted grains before consumption because these natural methods for processing food make the grains easier to digest. These processes also eliminates phytic acid, a substance in grains that binds up nutrients, preventing your body from absorbing them and making grains difficult to digest.
  4. Breakfast cereals contain stripped and refortified grains. Some cereal products contain highly processed flours that have been stripped of most nutrients. Manufacturers then add back low-quality chemical versions of vitamins and minerals that can cause nutritional deficiencies and imbalances.
  5. Breakfast cereals contain more sugar than some donuts. A global Consumer Reports study conducted across 32 nations found that eleven popular cereal brands contain as much sugar as a glazed doughnut.[4]  This study also found that the same brand cereals in the US have as much as 15% more sugar than in other countries.Sugar is acidic and robs your body of important minerals that you need to stay healthy and energized. To learn more, read: The 25 Key Reasons You Want to Dramatically Reduce or Avoid Sugar in Your Diet.
  6. Most breakfast cereals contain wheat and gluten. 1 in 133 people suffer from Celiac Disease (also known as gluten sensitivity enteropathy, gluten intolerance, or celiac sprue), a chronic, genetic disorder, affecting both children and adults. People with Celiac Disease are not able to eat foods that contain gluten, which is found primarily in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley, as well as other grains.Walk through the breakfast cereal aisle and you will be hard-pressed to find any cereals that do not contain gluten.

    More and more people are suffering from some kind of food allergy or “gluten intolerance” because their inner ecosystems are damaged and they are missing “grain-loving good bacteria” that help us digest gluten. These folks may crave gluten-containing foods and not even realize that gluten is the culprit for a wide variety of health issues.

    At Body Ecology, we teach that gluten insensitivity and in many cases misdiagnosed cases of Celiac Disease can be corrected by inoculating your inner ecosystem with grain-loving, gluten grown microflora like the ones you will find in our Whole Grains Biotic.

To learn more about cereal nutrition facts, read:

The Risks of Consuming Typical Grains & the Healthy Grains to Choose Instead

The Four Major Health Risks of Conventional Cereal Grains & The Healthy Weight-Optimizing “Grains” to Choose Instead

What to Eat INSTEAD of Breakfast Cereal for Optimal Weight and Health

There are so many excellent choices for healthy breakfast meals that are more nutritious, just as convenient and contribute to ideal weight and well-being.

Here are my top suggestions for what to eat instead of breakfast cereals:

    1. Vegetables – Yes, vegetables for a healthy breakfast! While this may seem strange, it is one of the best steps you can take to boost your health, energy and immunity. At Body Ecology, we teach the principle of 80/20. One aspect of the principle of 80/20 is that 80% of your plate consist of vegetables and 20% of either a grain OR an animal protein.An example of a healthy breakfast makeover that follows the 80/20 rule is Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and steamed kale and Body Ecology Scrambled Eggs.

      If you really wanted to boost the nutritional value of your meal, you’d add sea vegetables and fermented foods and drinks to your healthy breakfast meal (see fermented foods and drinks, below).

    2. Soup – Another seemingly strange convention is eating soup for breakfast. I am not talking about your typical soup from a can here. Instead, make some soup ahead of time and quickly heat it up in the morning for a nourishing start for the day.Eating soup for breakfast allows your body to re-hydrate, which is critical first thing in the morning. To learn more, read: Why Soup Is More than Just a Great Meal for the Winter Season .
    3. Fermented foods and drinks – the real key to optimal weight is healing your inner ecosystem. New studies are finding that weight gain and obesity may be caused by bacterial or viral conditions in your gut. To learn more, read: How the Bacteria in Your Gut Affect Your Body Weight – and How to Get the Balance Right Part 2Fermented foods and drinks can be your greatest tool to combat cravings, one of the major saboteurs of your weight loss efforts.

      Fermented foods and drinks are also your most potent tool for boosting your energy and balancing the good bacteria and yeast you need to keep pathogens at bay. When you have more energy, you are more apt to exercise, another undisputed technique for weight loss.

      You can incorporate fermented foods and drinks into your diet with cultured vegetables or convenient, delicious probiotic liquids, like our tastiest new Passion Fruit Biotic.

    4. Smoothies. Smoothies are another fast, delicious way to start your day. Whether you choose fruit smoothies or vegetable smoothies, you will be hydrating your body and delivering important nutrients that your body needs.
      1. Why are These Refreshing Smoothies Ideal for Your Health and Energy (and Superior to Juicing)? Part 1: Vegetable Smoothies
      2. Why Are These Refreshing Smoothies Ideal for Your Health and Energy (and Superior to Juicing)? Part 2: The Fruit Smoothies

Choosing the right ingredients is key. For recipes, read:

  1. Enjoy your sweets the healthy way with all-natural Lakanto!  Let’s face it, we all have a sweet tooth and it’s natural, but you don’t have to damage your health with sugar. Instead, use Lakanto, the only all-natural, no-calorie sugar substitute recommended by the Japanese Ministry of Health for weight loss, obesity and blood sugar problems like diabetes. When it comes to breakfast, eliminate sugar and sweeten your favorite drinks and meals with Lakanto!

    Body Ecology grain-like seeds. At Body Ecology, We recommend four gluten-free seeds that have grain-like properties. They are amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and millet. These grain-like seeds are the true weight optimizing “grains” because they help “feed” your good bacteria and yeast and they provide important B vitamins to boost your mood.

    Here’s a delicious (and fast-cooking) replacement for typical breakfast cereals:

    Hot Healthy Breakfast Porridge Recipe

    (Makes 2 large bowls or 4 smaller servings)


    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup quinoa flakes
    • ¼ tsp. sea salt
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 Tbs. butter or coconut oil
    • 2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
    • 1 tsp. Flax seed oil (optional but very healthy)
    • Lakanto, all natural sugar substitute


    1. Bring water to boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Add next four ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding vanilla flavoring and flax seed oil.
    4. Spoon your cereal into a bowl and sprinkle our delicious Lakanto over the top. This is really a “soul food” on those colder winter days.
  2. Vitality SuperGreen. For the fastest meal of the morning, grab a glass of water and mix in two scoops of vitamin-mineral-probiotic-rich Vitality SuperGreen . Not only will you hydrate your body, you will also provide your body with a healthy, alkaline drink. Your blood becomes more acidic at night while your body is repairing in your sleep. Your ideal meal in the morning is one that helps to alkalize your blood while immediately increasing your energy…like Vitality SuperGreen.To learn more, read: Are You at Peak “Vitality?” Answer These Three Key Questions

Breakfast of Champions

Starting your day with any of these delicious healthy breakfast options can provide all the fiber and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and energized. Eating breakfast the Body Ecology way helps to balance your inner ecosystem to boost your mood and immunity and keep you naturally slim.

I totally understand that morning is probably your busiest time of the day. Multi-tasking, like driving and eating, can create stress, which shuts down your ability to digest. This could result in gas, bloating and fatigue…not a great way to start your day. So PLEASE make yourself SIT DOWN for breakfast and take the time to not only enjoy your Body Ecology breakfast but also remember that important sense of gratitude.

Sitting calmly and eating slowly while chewing thoroughly will also be helping you improve your digestion. As I often find myself saying…”it’s not justwhat we eat…it’s what we digest that really matters”. Healthy digestion is where abundant good health and longevity really begin.

Give yourself the gift of time in the morning to enjoy your meal and nourish yourself with real food and your body will thank you with energy throughout the day!


  1. Hills, Sarah, Cereal at breakfast aids healthy lifestyle: Study. FoodNavigator-USA.com. November 25, 2008. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Cereal-at-breakfast-aids-healthy-lifestyle-Study <http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Cereal-at-breakfast-aids-healthy-lifestyle-Study> .
  2. Bekelman, Justin E., AB, MPhil, Yan Li,  Gross, Cary P.,  MD. Scope and Impact of Financial Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research. The Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA. 2003;289:454-465. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/289/4/454 <http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/289/4/454>
  3. Association between industry funding and statistically significant pro-industry findings in medical and surgical randomized trials. CMAJ, February 17, 2004; 170 (4).  http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/170/4/477 <http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/170/4/477>
  4. Hills, Sarah.
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