How to Choose a Healthy Breakfast Cereal and The Importance of Fiber in Your Diet!

As a chiropractor in Toronto, I have found that a big part of the healing journey for our patients is a proper diet.

If you need help making your diet better, my personal recommendation is to see a Registered Dietitian over a Nutritionist.

The difference between a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Nutritionist is that RD’s are regulated by law and nutritionist are not. The law by Dietitians of Canada states that dietitians must meet legal and professional standards for safe, ethical and quality health care. Registered Dietitian requires a 4 year degree in nutrition or equivalent, an accredited dietetic internship and the license exam called Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam and continue professional development with new research. All Registered Dietitians can call themselves as Nutritionist but not all Nutritionist can call themselves as Dietitians except for Public Health Nutritionists who are regulated by law. Law protects these titles and people using them inappropriately can be fined up to $50,000 (College of Dietitians of Ontario, 2013).

Today’s information in our blog is brought to us by Punya Puri a Registered Clinical Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator at St. Michael’s Hospital. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with her, you can email her at: puripunya@gmail.com

How to chose a healthy breakfast cereal

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that breakfast helps to maintain healthier weights. The evidence also shows that breakfast reduces the risk of heart diseases and obesity. Breakfast cereals help you get enough fiber, vitamins, iron, calcium etc.

Today there are so many varieties of cereals in the market that it makes it tough to choose from. Do you get confused/overwhelmed at the grocery stores when choosing your cereal? Follow these simple tips when looking for cereal according to your requirements:

1. Take a look at the Nutrition Fact table on the box.
2. Now find the serving size on the label.
3. Choose a cereal that has:

whole grains
less than 5 grams of sugar per serving
2 or more grams of fibre per serving
(Note: 2 g per serving = a source of fiber, 4 g per serving is a good source of fiber and 6 g per serving is an excellent source of fiber.)
A low-fat breakfast cereal has 3 grams of fat or less per serving.
Look for cereal less than 360 mg of sodium.

4. Avoid cereals with prepackaged dry fruits. Usually these cereals have added sugar to them.
5. Add low fat milk, skim milk, fortified soy beverage etc to your cereal.

You may add nuts like almonds, walnuts, ground flax seed, sunflower seeds to your cereal. Add fruits like strawberries, blueberries, banana, peaches etc to your cereal instead of sugar or honey.So next time, eat a healthy breakfast before you start your day.

Importance of Fiber

Fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body cannot digest and absorb but helps to maintain a nutritional status. Fiber has many benefits:

Lower the blood glucose level.
Lower the cholesterol.
Adds bulk/roughage to the diet- you feel full for a longer time, helps with appetite and weight.
Improves bowel movements
Prevents many diseases like bowel disorders, colon cancer, constipation etc.
Fiber is of 2 types:

Insoluble fiber: Absorbs water and expands in the digestive tract. It promotes regular bowel movements. It is found in wheat bran, whole grains and some vegetables.
Soluble fiber: Dissolves in water and creates a gel formation, thus reduces blood glucose, reduces cholesterol and improves nutrient absorption. It is found in oatmeal, barley, psyllium, dried beans, oranges, lentils etc.
Total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements.

fruits-and-vegetables-photos

TIPS TO INCREASE FIBER

Start with a high fiber breakfast cereal (5 or more grams of fiber per serving
Add fresh/dried fruit or vegetable with low fat dip for snacks.
Enjoy fruits and vegetables by leaving the peels on.
Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juices- juices have no fiber
Add beans to your favorite salad.
Substitute legumes for meat at least 2 -3 times per week.
Use whole wheat pastas, rice, noodles and breads
Add fruits like strawberries, blueberries to your low fat yogurt.

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