Cereal choice a question of taste, goals

EATING WELL

June 28, 1994|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Special to The Sun

"What's the best cereal?" everyone wants to know. Frankly, I wouldn't answer that question on a dare. Products are constantly being reformulated, changing the fat content, sodium, calories, fiber and taste. And taste is the number one reason why people choose food. So you're going to have to decide for yourself, based on your nutritional goals, as well as what tastes good.

A friend recently set out to answer this question and compiled a chart for easier comparison. Some things to consider:

Fiber content -- Health organizations recommend 25-35 grams of fiber per day, about twice the American average.

Added sugars -- Kids' cereals have long been criticized for piling on the sugar, but the Nutrition Facts label will help you get a handle on this. Four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon, and a little bit of added sugar is OK. All the calories in fruit come from natural sugars that make the total look higher.

Fat content -- Cereals are not a major source of fat, although a few granola types contain about 3 grams per serving. This can add up if you eat a lot of cereal each day.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

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