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Cereal - A Good Way to Start the Day

So all your child will eat is breakfast cereal! That may not be all that bad according to a recent report published by American researchers.


One of the worst ways to start off any work or school day is to skip out on breakfast. Sure everyone is in such a hurry in the morning, but less time in the shower and more time at the table before you bolt out the door may not be such a bad idea.. Studies done in schools have shown that students do much better when their minds are concentrating on the work on the board and not thinking about their empty stomachs. Also, it is a well established fact in nutrition circles that skipping breakfast as a way of dieting just doesn't work. When you extend that "fast" overnight until noon the next day your body wants to catch up. When it does, there goes the diet.

A recent report published in the Journal Pediatrics emphasized the importance of breakfast cereal as a major source of nutrition for children. It seems that many children in the United States get most of their vitamins and other nutrients from fortified breakfast cereals and fruit drinks. The researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the United States Department of Agriculture use folic acid as an example. Fortification of breakfast cereals with folic acid has resulted in the fact that between 23 and 33 % of children's folacin (folic acid) intake is consumed in the form of breakfast cereal. Cereals are also providing a major portion of the daily intake of iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. Breakfast cereals have become both a food and a dietary supplement due to the fact that they are consumed both at breakfast and at other times of the day. The other thing to remember is that breakfast cereals, although often heavy on the carbohydrate (sugar) side, are usually consumed with milk which itself is packed with nutrients.

The subject of food fortification with essential nutrients has, and still is, a subject of much debate. Nutritionists would argue that the best diet is one that is varied and includes grains, fruits and vegetables. However, it is also apparent that there are groups, such as children, that are not willing or able to eat balanced diets to ensure an adequate supply of all nutrients. In such cases it may be a good idea to fortify popular foods to ensure adequate nutrition.

Breakfast Cereal Nutrient Contents
- Expressed as % of Recommended Daily Intake (Canada)
Product Iron Folacin Vit B12 Zinc
Honeycomb (Post):29800
Life (Quaker):288010
Raisin Bran (Kellogg's):298012


Pediatrics vol. 102, 912-923 (1998)

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