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Are Cheerios Healthy?

by  DR. TINA M. ST. JOHN
author image Dr. Tina M. St. John
Tina M. St. John runs a health communications and consulting firm. She is also an author and editor, and was formerly a senior medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. St. John holds an M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine.
Are Cheerios Healthy?
Cheerios has been a breakfast staple for many years. Photo Credit: spirit_of_nature/iStock/GettyImages

Cheerios is the brand name of a line of ready-to-eat cold cereals. Cheerios are available in a variety of flavors, including original, multi grain, banana nut, honey nut, frosted, chocolate, berry, fruit, apple cinnamon and yogurt.

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All Cheerios varieties contain dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, which can help support a healthy nutrition plan. Some Cheerios varieties, however, contain a significant amount of added sugar, which can be unhealthy if consumed in large amounts.

Fiber

Fiber is plant matter that cannot be digested. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble, which provide distinct health benefits. Whole-grain oats — the primary ingredient in original, honey nut and yogurt Cheerios — contain more soluble fiber than any other type of grain.

Including soluble dietary fiber in your diet can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease by lowering the level of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, in your bloodstream. A 1-cup serving of original Cheerios contains 3 grams of dietary fiber. The amount of dietary fiber in other varieties of Cheerios ranges from 1.3 to 5 grams per cup.

Sugar and Calories

The amount of sugar in Cheerios varies, depending on the variety you select. Original Cheerios are low in sugar, with 1 gram per cup. Multigrain Cheerios contain 6 grams of sugar per cup. The flavored varieties of Cheerios contain 9 to 16 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving.

The calories in Cheerios correlate to the amount of sugar in the cereal, with original and frosted Cheerios containing 100 calories and 145 calories per cup, respectively, according to LIVESTRONG's MyPlate food database. To limit the amount of added sugar in your nutrition plan, original and multigrain Cheerios are healthier options than the flavored varieties.

Vitamins

Including Cheerios in your diet can contribute to your health by providing significant amounts of several essential vitamins. All varieties of Cheerios cereal are fortified with vitamins A, C, D, B-6, B-12, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid.

A cup of original and flavored varieties of Cheerios provide you with approximately 10 to 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamins A, C and D; 25 to 33 percent of vitamins B-6, B-12, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin; and 50 to 67 percent of folic acid.

A cup of multigrain Cheerios contains higher levels of vitamins than the other varieties of Cheerios, with 100 percent of the RDI for vitamins B-5, B-6, B-12, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid.

Iron

Cheerios cereals are fortified with iron, which your body requires to prevent the development of anemia and maintain the production of other essential metabolic chemicals. A cup of multigrain Cheerios provides you with 100 percent of the RDI for iron; original and flavored Cheerios varieties contain approximately 33 to 45 percent.

More About MyPlate

The free LIVESTRONG MyPlate calorie tracker app for iPhone and Android has helped millions of people lose weight the healthy way — by getting support from an active community as they track their eating and exercise. Consistently a top-rated app, MyPlate offers the latest technology in an easy-to-use tool that includes millions of foods and recipes, 5-minute in-app workouts and a robust support community.

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