Not All Ready-to-Eat-Cereals are Equal: Read the Label and Choose Fortified Products 1 Mar 2013
For years, moms and dads have been telling their kids that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The brain requires glucose to think and learn. We also need key nutrients, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), lutein, zeaxanthin, and essential vitamins to form neurological cells and membranes. Ready-to-eat-cereals (RTEC), consumed with milk, can be important sources of nutrients.
And a new study emphasizes that point, again. Frantzen and colleagues evaluated the impact of RTEC consumption on nutrient intakes in low-income minority children living in San Antonio, TX. Children who frequently consumed RTEC had higher intakes of essential nutrients. This is not a new observation.
Preziosi and colleagues used dietary histories collected from 1,108 children living in France. RTEC consumers had higher intakes of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorous and calcium. They also had higher serum levels of B vitamins and beta-carotene.
Van den Boom and colleagues reported that ~48% of children, adolescents and adults living in Spain consumed RTEC. Children 6-9y consuming RTEC had significantly higher intakes of B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, niacin, folate, B12, calcium, iron and vitamin D) than non-consumers.
Serra-Majem reported that children living in Spain, France, UK, North Ireland, Portugal and Germany have a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies than other age groups. Consumption of RTEC positively contributed to vitamin and mineral intakes.
However, when choosing ready-to-eat-cereals, it is important to remember that not all products are equal. Many natural and organic products are not fortified with vitamins and minerals. Consequently, they will provide calories, carbohydrate, some protein, and maybe some fat (in addition to that present in milk) but they are not usually excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Read the nutrition facts panel and choose wisely.-mm-
Frantzen LB, Trevino RP, Echon RM, Garcia-Dominic O, DiMarco N. Association between frequency of ready-to-eat cereal consumption, nutrient intakes, and body mass index in fourth- to sixth-grade low-income minority children. 2013 JAND online Feb 27.