There is a plethora of cereals available today on the market to choose from, some even claiming to promote weight loss. According to an article by nutritionist Lori Pirog published in “Women and Weight,” there are five specific characteristics or parameters to look for when choosing a cereal to shed those unwanted pounds. First, the cereal should contain 100 percent whole grain, and the cereal should contain more than 5 grams of dietary fiber. The cereal of choice should be low in sugar, containing 8 grams of sugar or less, low in sodium, containing less than 200 milligrams of salt, and offer less than 200 calories per serving.
Special K Challenge
It seems everyone has heard of the Special K challenge. The makers of Special K have broadly touted the Special K cereal 2 week weight loss plan. Purportedly, eating Special K as a meal replacement for two meals a day, breakfast and lunch, is said to promote impressive weight loss in just two weeks. However, according to nutritionist Lori Pirog, it is doubtful that the Special K is effective for most, as it is high in sugar with a high glycemic index, and may actually leave dieters hungrier after they have eaten it. Also, there is little whole grain to balance the sugar with protein, and Special K contains very little fiber, a weight loss essential.
Kashi Heart to Heart Flakes
Kashi Heart to Heart Flakes is another cereal that is marketed for good health and weight loss. According to nutritionist Lori Pirog, this particular Kashi cereal is worth taking a closer look at as it contains 110 calories per ¾ cup serving, and 5 grams of fiber. Additionally, it contains an impressive 4 grams of protein, and is low salt with just 90 milligrams of sodium. This cereal is also a good choice for dieters as it is far from many of the sugar-ladened cereals on the grocers’ shelves today with a mere 5 grams of sugar.
Whole Grain Wheat Chex
Whole Grain Wheat Chex is another good option when looking for a cereal to help lose weight. Included in a single serving is 100 percent whole grain that offers 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of sugar. However, this cereal is high in sodium, as it contains 340 milligrams per single serving. It is also higher in calories, as it weighs in at 160 calories per serving. This is higher than some other cereals such as Kashi Heart to Heart Flakes, but still provides breakfast for under 200 calories per serving as recommended for weight loss by nutritionist Lori Pirog.
Oatmeal is one of the most popular breakfast foods for weight loss for several reasons. According to Lori Pirog, it promotes good health as it soaks up bad cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract. It also provides a great start for the day with just 150 calories per ½ cup serving, oatmeal is very filling and quells the appetite well into the morning. Additionally, it is high in carbohydrates and offers an energy boost, while providing abundant B-complex vitamins.
It is vitally important to read labels when engaging in a weight loss program. It is not enough to follow the media advertisements that tout a product as a weight-loss wonder. Weight loss begins with sound nutrition and portion control, both of which can be readily learned by reading labels. According to an article in the Journal of American College of Nutrition by Richard Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD, "ready to eat cereals promote weight loss when used as a meal replacement with portion control."