Muesli is any combination of whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. The grains in muesli are raw, which is what differentiates it from granola, which features baked grains. Muesli is usually served with low-fat milk, orange juice or yogurt. Its complex carbs, fiber, protein and nutrients can be included in a weight-loss diet, but watch your portions to limit calories.
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Watch the Calories
The bottom line for weight loss is counting calories, which means you’ll need to be careful about the amount of muesli you pour into a bowl. Just 1/2 cup contains from 144 to 250 calories, depending on the brand and the mix of ingredients. If you pour a cup of milk or orange juice over the cereal, you’ll add another 100 or 112 calories, respectively. You can work these calories into a weight-loss plan as an entire meal, but it’s high for a snack. As a general guideline, snacks should have 100 calories or less, according to MedlinePlus.
Protein Promotes Satiety
Protein supports weight loss by slowing the movement of food through your digestive tract, which creates a feeling of fullness, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. While the amount of protein in your muesli will vary from one brand to the next, you can count on getting protein from the whole grains, nuts and seeds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 1/2 cup of generic muesli contains 4 grams of protein. This amount provides 9 percent of women’s and 7 percent of men’s recommended dietary allowance.
Fiber Fills You Up
Fiber adds bulk that physically fills your stomach, triggering sensors that tell your brain that you’re full. Soluble fiber also absorbs water and turns into a gummy mass that slows down the rate at which food leaves your stomach -- so you feel full longer. People who eat more fiber, especially fiber from cereal, are more likely to weigh less and have a smaller waist circumference, according to a review published in the “Journal of Nutrition” in July 2012. One-half cup of generic muesli has 3 grams of fiber, or 12 percent of women’s and 8 percent of men’s daily intake.
Muesli Contributes Nutrients
Muesli contains complex carbohydrates for energy, and it’s an excellent source of B vitamins, which support your metabolism and help convert food into energy. It’s also a good source of zinc and iron, both of which are essential for a strong immune system. All types of muesli will contain some natural sugar, but some brands may add sweeteners. Avoid brands with sugar, honey, syrup or other sweeteners in the list of ingredients. The amount of fat varies from 2 to 11 grams. Even though most of the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated type, if you want to follow a low-fat diet, choose brands with 3 grams or less per serving.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- The Nibble: A Brief History of Granola and Muesli
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cereals, Ready-to-Eat, Muesli, Dried Fruit and Nuts
- The Nibble: Muesli Cereal
- MedlinePlus: Snacks for Adults
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- Harvard Medical School: Why Eating Slowly May Help You Feel Full Faster
- University of Illinois at Chicago: Getting Enough Fiber in Your Diet Does not Have to be Like This
- Journal of Nutrition: Filling America's Fiber Intake Gap: Summary of a Roundtable to Probe Realistic Solutions With a Focus on Grain-Based Foods
- Colorado State University Extension: Understanding the Food Label
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1 Percent Milkfat, With Added Vitamin A and Vitamin D
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Raw