Cereal and Body Weight
Cereals provide 130 calories or less per 30 gram Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) serving. Compared to other breakfast options that tend to be higher in calories, cereal makes nutrition sense. And frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights – and that includes people who choose sweetened cereals. It’s true of men. It’s true of women. And it’s true of kids.
A large study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association followed 2,000 American girls over a 10-year period. It found that girls who demonstrated a consistent cereal-eating pattern had healthier body weights and lower BMI than those who did not. Frequency of breakfast consumption and cereal consumption declined with age, but girls who continued to eat cereal frequently maintained a healthier body weight through adolescence.
Girls who ate cereal were less likely to become overweight as young adults than noncereal eaters
Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, also made significant nutrient contributions in the diets of the girls. Forty-one percent of the cereals consumed in the study were presweetened. Still, the number of days eating cereal – including presweetened cereal – remained predictive of lower BMI and higher nutrient intakes.
A second study reported similar results. Cereal consumption was associated with better nutritional status and a lower likelihood of weight gain among adolescents. This study found that although the frequency of breakfast eating declined with age, days on which the girls ate breakfast were associated with higher calcium and higher fiber intake.
Another study found that breakfast consumption is associated with a lower body weight, especially when ready-to-eat cereals are consumed, while yet another study found that people who reported consuming a breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal had healthier body weights than those who consumed higher fat breakfasts.