Most of us have a beloved breakfast cereal from our childhood that we enjoyed every morning as part of our daily diet, some of the more popular ones being Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and ProNutro. We often saw these cereals as a great kickstart to our mornings, but little did we know they’re packed with sugar that did more harm to our health than good.
BusinessTech took an in-depth look at the cereals commonly found in our pantry. They assessed the amount of sugar contained in 100g of cereal. Bokomo’s Creme Soda Otees came out tops as the cereal containing 38,6g sugar per 100g. Bokomo’s Weet-Bix was found to contain the least sugar with 2,9g per 100g.
Jayne Bullen, COO of The Noakes Foundation, gave her opinion on the matter, “An important aspect to consider when looking at this shocking sugar data is that, despite its exorbitantly high sugar content, one must also take carbohydrate load into account. This means that even the breakfast cereals that are pitched to the consumer as ‘healthy’ or ‘diabetic friendly’ due to no or very low added sugars are in fact, blood sugar bombs due to the high carbohydrate nature of the food. Oats and a variety of other cereals approved by Diabetes SA as being diabetic friendly, came out nearly as bad as very refined cereals. They may have other micronutrient properties and fibers etc. that add some value, but they have a similar effect on blood glucose! What does this mean? It means that plain cereals, carbs and grains should not be considered as sufficient nutrition to feed ourselves and our families. There are ways to improve their ‘health’ status by diluting/fortifying/decreasing the carb load in them, but frankly, they should not be a part of your daily breakfast choice for the family. They are not healthy foods.”
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It is important to be informed on the food that we put into our bodies, especially in the mornings as our first meal boosts our energy levels and prepares us for the day ahead. Large blood sugar spikes usually occur in the mornings when we consume breakfasts high in carbohydrates and sugars. This is often pronounced in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Our western diet is full of cereals, toast and sugary fruit which leads to glucose spikes and the sluggish feeling we experience after a high carbohydrate breakfast.
Make sure you read the back label of products when purchasing from the grocery store to inform yourself of the sugar and carbohydrate content of the food and to make healthier choices in the future!
According to a study in 2019, breakfasts have consistently been found to be the “problem meal” when it comes to large blood sugar spikes in T2D patients. However, eating a low-carb and high-fat meal first thing in the morning is a simple way to prevent this large spike, improve glycemic control throughout the day, and perhaps also reduce other diabetes complications.
In the past, The Noakes Foundation conducted a study which presented that low carb breakfast choices, like the Heba Banting porridge, were successful at keeping blood sugar levels stable in type 2 diabetic patients throughout the morning, when compared to other products listed as “Diabetic-friendly”. These listed products caused tremendous spikes in blood glucose levels.
The figures below display the average of 0, 30, 60, and 90-minute glucose measurements surrounding consumption of breakfast products. There are 12 individual groupings of measurements on each graph. These correspond to each participant’s averages, and each graph corresponds to one breakfast product. The graphs displays a rough depiction of the time necessary for blood glucose levels to normalize following consumption of breakfast products.
The Noakes Foundation and Eat Better South Africa! (EBSA) is working tirelessly to undo years of improper nutritional education and policy that has been ingrained into our population. The Noakes Foundation’s community initiative, EBSA has developed a program to assist under-resourced communities to meet their dietary needs and better their eating habits. EBSA has taken the approach of educating under-resourced communities on the importance of embracing a whole foods diet, low in refined carbohydrates and sugar, by taking part in a comprehensive, community based 6-week nutrition program. Their goal is to aid these communities to reverse and prevent diseases of lifestyle, often associated with poor eating habits. These include, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. It has been noted that the above mentioned diseases are more prevalent in low income families, thus increasing the urgency to educate the communities on the diseases and how to avoid such diseases. The program places special attention on the budget and preparation of healthy foods, how to overcome sugar addiction and the teaching of the adverse effects of sugar and carbohydrates on the human body. Tremendous improvements of health markers have been observed in participants of previous EBSA programmes.
We are committed to creating awareness on hidden sugars and refined carbohydrates in diets in under-resourced communities, so that we can help them to live a healthy lifestyle and make better food choices in the future. If you would like to find out more about our EBSA programme and how you can support our mission contact us at email@example.com.