Because of our busy lifestyle and tight work schedules, most of us no longer have the time to prepare a healthy breakfast, so we go for packaged, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals like honey nut cheerios. If you have diabetes, one of your aims while choosing any meal is to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Honey nut cheerios is marketed as being heart-healthy, so does that mean Honey Nut Cheerios is good for diabetics? This comprehensive guide explores the impact of honey nut cheerios on diabetes, provides alternative options, and offers tips for making healthier cereal choices.
Is Honey Nut Cheerios Good for Diabetics? Surprisingly, the short answer is No! Do you know that these cereals are not as healthy as you were made to believe?
Honey Nut Cheerios breakfast cereal contains a high amount of sugar. According to the label, three of the top ingredients are sweeteners – honey, brown sugar and sugar. Is this really what a person with diabetes should be taking in the morning?
As a person with diabetes, what you need is a healthy and well-balanced breakfast, not a high sugar cereal. Starting your day with honey nut cheerios may elevate your blood sugar and insulin levels because of the added sugar in it.
This may make your blood sugar level crash after a few hours, and you will become hungry again and start craving for a snack or another high carb meal. This may turn into a vicious cycle, and you will now start overeating.
Overeating can result in obesity, and consuming excess sugar may increase your risk of diabetes complications and heart disease.
What is Honey Nut Cheerios?
Honey nut cheerios is a sweet variant of General Mills original plain cheerios. It is made of whole grain oat and oat bran. It is gluten-free, and contrary to the initial cheerios, this variety is sweeter. The amount of sugar is nine times more, with added honey and almond flavour.
Initially, honey nut cheerios was actually made of real nuts, which was discontinued as of 2006 and replaced with natural flavour from apricot pit and peach.
Ingredients in Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey nut cheerios contain the following.
- Whole grain oats
- Oat bran
- Corn starch
- Brown sugar syrup
- Natural almond flavour
- Vitamin E
- Tripotassium phosphate
- Rice bran oil and/or canola oil
It is gluten-free, and it also contains some minerals and vitamins.
This video covers some myths about salts.
Nutritional Content of Honey Nut Cheerios
Let’s delve into the nutritional content of honey nut cheerios to better understand its potential impact on blood sugar levels.
Serving Size: 1 cup (37g)
Serving per pack: 8
|Nutrient||Amount per Serving (1 cup, 37g)||% Daily Value*|
|Including Added Sugars||12g||24%|
|Folate (45mcg folic acid)||–||20%|
Popular Brands Of Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey nut cheerios is one of America’s best-selling cereals and is a cheerios brand under General Mills cereal. It is usually referred to as the yellow box cheerios by General Mills because of the color of its package. Yandel Gonzalez introduced it in 1979. It is one of the 11 of cheerios.
Cheerios was introduced in 1941 as cheerioats, and in 1945, the name was changed to cheerios. The first variant of cheerios, Cinnamon Nut Cheerios, was introduced in 1976.
Honey nut cheerios was the second variation of the cheerios. It was notable in 2019 as the U.S most popular cereal. It was advertised on the General Mills website to be a heart-healthy cereal because of its soluble fiber content from whole grain oats.
Is Honey Nut Cheerios High In Sugar?
The sweet taste of honey nut cheerios is not only from the honey but also from the cereal’s sugar and brown sugar content.
It contains about 9g of sugar per serving of ¾ cup! Which is more than one-third of our daily sugar requirements only in one meal.
Is Honey Nut Cheerios Good For Diabetics?
It is stated on the pack of honey nut cheerios that it “can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease” because of the whole oat grain and the soluble fiber (found in oat) it contains. This cereal is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which is good for the heart. But all these benefits are greatly reduced with the amount of sugar in the cereal. The sugar content of this cereal can spike your blood sugar level and elevate your cholesterol levels.
Individuals with diabetes should be cautious when considering honey nut cheerios as their breakfast choice. Despite being marketed as “heart-healthy,” this cereal contains a significant amount of sugar. The top three ingredients listed on the label are sweeteners – honey, brown sugar, and sugar. These added sugars can cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to potential complications.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), “sugar is not sweet for your health”. They recommend limiting your sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar daily.
The serving size of honey nut cheerios is ¾ cup, and a ¾ cup size serving contains about 9g of sugar! Which is more than a third of the daily limit.
Besides, how many people, especially adults, will be satisfied with a ¾ cup size serving of honey nut cheerios? And increasing your serving size to 1 cup or more means more sugar intake.
If you have diabetes, you know what that means, right? This means even with the soluble fiber content in honey nut cheerios, and it can elevate your blood sugar level and weight gain.
Consumption of excess sugar can have a lot of negative impact on our health. When we consume excess sugar, blood sugar levels go up. As a result, the body releases more insulin to move and store the sugar in the fat cells in order to help balance the blood sugar level. With time the excess production of insulin can result in insulin resistance, weight gain and increases the complications of diabetes.
Honey Nut Cheerios and Blood Sugar Management
Starting the day with honey nut cheerios may lead to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels due to its high sugar content. This can result in a subsequent crash in blood sugar levels, leading to increased hunger and cravings for more high-carb meals. Overeating and excessive sugar consumption can contribute to obesity and worsen diabetes-related complications, such as cardiovascular disease.
To offer a more comprehensive view, let’s include insights from experts in the field of nutrition and diabetes management. We spoke with Dr. Sarah Martinez, a registered dietitian specializing in diabetes care, who emphasizes that individuals with diabetes should prioritize whole, unprocessed foods and limit added sugars in their diet. Health evidence expert Dr Yasoba Atukorale also shared that view.
When Honey Nut Cheerios Bad For Diabetics?
There is no doubt that honey nut cheerios contain some important nutrients such as;
- folic acid,
- thiamin and niacin,
- vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D.
But be it as it may be, if you have diabetes and trying to cut down on your carb and sugar intake, is best for you to stay away from this cereal because of its high sugar content.
If you suffer from gut symbiosis, heart disease, and if you are allergic to almond, peach or apricot, it is even more advisable for you to skip this cereal.
What Cereals Are Good For Diabetics?
If you have diabetes, Cereals are easy to prepare meals, especially in the morning when you are running late. But these easy-to-prepare breakfast can do more harm than good to your blood glucose levels.
As a diabetic, one of your goals when eating is eating healthy and maintaining a stable blood glucose level. And if you are a cereal lover, you may need to stay away from most of these cereals because on the top list of their ingredients are not just added sugars but refined grains.
Those cereals have only a handful of nutrients and provide ‘empty calories’. They can also easily cause a spike in your blood glucose levels.
That’s why it’s important to read the labels of the cereals carefully before choosing anyone. Look for cereals that list
1. Whole grain and not refined grains as the main ingredient
Refined grains are less healthy because they have been stripped of bran and germ during the processing stage.
Whole grains contain the complete grain kernel, a source of healthy fiber, and also includes lots of minerals and vitamins.
Fiber should be included as an important part of your diet. It helps regulate your blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of heart disease. Some of the whole grains you can find listed in breakfast cereals, includes:
2. Little or zero sugar
Note that eating cereals made of whole-grain or with adequate fiber is not enough, so stay away from high sugar cereals.
Look it for not only sugar, but there are hidden sweeteners such as
- Brown sugar
- Came sugar
- Agave nectar
- Corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Cane crystals
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
Choose cereals with little or no added sugar. Cereals with high sugar content can lead to increased blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
Over time, these elevated levels may allow the disease to progress, as well as increase your risk of complications like heart disease.
Nonetheless, numerous sugar-free breakfast cereals are available. Some are simply unsweetened, while others may contain sugar substitutes like stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit.
Protein can help to keep you full for longer. Choose cereals like oatmeal that are a little higher in protein or those with close to 10g of added protein.
4. Low sodium
Some brands claim that their cereals are heart-healthy, yet their sodium content per serving is high. So don’t be deceived.
Instead, choose brands with low sodium content and, no matter the meal, aim to eat less than 2300mg of sodium daily.
Tips To Lower The Carb Content Of Honey Nut Cheerios Cereal When Eating
As stated earlier, Honey nut cheerios is high in carbs with lots of added sugar, a little amount of protein, fat and not enough fiber, vitamins and minerals. This makes this cereal nutritionally unbalanced.
You can get more protein, fiber and healthy fat to your bowl of honey nut cheerios to help lower the carb content of honey nut cheerios to prevent the elevation of blood sugar levels by adding any of the following
Nuts a good source of protein and healthy fats. They are not just tasty but can help to keep you full for longer.
If you are not allergic to any nuts, then lucky you! You can add any nuts you want, such as almonds, peanuts or walnuts.
But if you are allergic to any nuts, choose the ones that you are not allergic to.
Hey! One more thing, don’t overdo it!. Watch the portion size of the nut you are adding to your cereal because nuts are calorie-dense.
- Seeds like hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds to the cereal
This will not only add more fiber which will help keep you full for longer but can help slow down digestion and the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream. The seeds are also a good source of protein, and flax seed is a healthy source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Add high fiber fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for more fiber.
Instead of adding milk, you can substitute with unsweetened or Greek yogurt for probiotics, add more protein, and support your digestive system.
To help individuals with diabetes make better cereal choices, we’ve compiled a list of diabetes-friendly direct/similar alternatives to honey nut cheerios.
|Steel-Cut Oats||Low glycemic index, high in fiber,|
|helps stabilize blood sugar levels.|
|Muesli||Nutrient-rich, with added nuts, seeds,|
|and dried fruits for natural sweetness.|
|Unsweetened Greek Yogurt||High in protein and probiotics,|
|supports gut health.|
|No-Sugar-Added Granola||Made with whole grains, nuts, and seeds|
|with minimal added sugars.|
|Low-Sugar High-Fiber Cereals||Carefully selected cereals with|
|minimal added sugars and high fiber.|
Alternate Healthier Breakfast Options
Although you can enjoy honey nut cheerios and other cereals occasionally, it is best to eat a healthy and well-balanced breakfast that consists of carbs and adequate proteins, healthy fat, high fibers, minerals, and vitamins.
Also, there should be little or no added sugar. This will help you meet all your nutritional needs and prevent unwelcome blood sugar level spikes and keep you full for long.
Here are some quick, easy and healthier breakfast options
This is one of the best cereal choices for people with diabetes. Oats are low in sugar and are a high source of soluble fiber beta-glucan known for its ability to help lower cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
Note, that all oatmeals are not the same. Instant oatmeal is high in glycemic index, so go for steel-cut oatmeal, rolled oatmeal or oat bran with a low glycemic index.
It is a combination of oat, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Just as in oat, muesli is rich in fiber, high in protein and other nutrients. But unlike oats, most muesli contains added sugar, so it is advisable to check the label and choose the no-sugar variant if you are watching your weight or trying to cut down on your sugar consumption.
- Yogurt topped with fruit
A serving of yogurt is low in calories, high in protein, vitamins and loaded in probiotics which helps support your gut and immune system.
Greek yogurt or unsweetened yogurt will make a perfect breakfast, plus it is lower in sugar than the sweetened yogurt.
You can add flax seed and fruits like strawberries, grapes or mangoes as topping to add more nutrients and fiber.
- Chia pudding
They are easy to make, plus you can prepare them the night before and put them in your refrigerator. Chia seeds are high in fiber, low in calories and packed with antioxidants. You can also top them with any but or fruit of your choice.
Eggs are a good source of protein, healthy fats and filled in antioxidants. Hard-boiled, scrambled, or sunny-side up, eggs are easy to prepare. They can keep you full for long. You can pair them with any food – vegetable salads, nuts or fresh fruits.
Practical Tips for Making Healthier Cereal Choices
Now, let’s offer some practical tips for readers to apply when selecting cereals for a diabetes-friendly breakfast.
- Read the Labels: Always read the nutritional labels and ingredient lists of cereals. Look for cereals with whole grains as the main ingredient and minimal added sugars.
- Focus on Fiber: Choose cereals high in dietary fiber, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes overall digestive health.
- Opt for Low Sugar: Avoid cereals with excessive added sugars. Be mindful of hidden sweeteners in ingredient lists.
- Balance with Protein: Pair your cereal with a source of protein, like unsweetened Greek yogurt or nuts, to help stabilize blood sugar levels and stay satiated.
- Watch the Serving Size: Pay attention to the recommended serving size to avoid excessive carbohydrate intake.
We also consulted with Dr. Jessica Wong, an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes management, who encourages individuals with diabetes to focus on whole-food options, avoid sugary cereals, and work with a registered dietitian for personalized meal planning.
Best to explain the dangers of some cereals, by comparing them with each other.
|Cereal||Sugar Content per Serving (1 cup)||Fiber Content per Serving (1 cup)||Protein Content per Serving (1 cup)||Glycemic Index (GI)|
|Honey Nut Cheerios||12g||3g||3g||High|
|Muesli||Varies (watch for added sugars)||4g||6g||Medium|
|Unsweetened Greek Yogurt||6g||0g||10g||Low|
|No-Sugar-Added Granola||Varies (watch for added sugars)||5g||6g||Medium|
|Low-Sugar High-Fiber Cereals||Varies (watch for added sugars)||Varies (typically 4g-6g)||Varies (typically 3g-5g)||Low to Medium|
Here are some other non-cereal alternatives for your breakfast. Follow the links to read more if any of them interest you.
- Ensure Max Protein
- Honey Nut Cheerios
- Sustagen Hospital Formula
- Nutren Diabetes
- Nestle Nutren Optimum
- Whey Protein Powder
- Premier Protein Shakes
- Meal Replacements with low sugar
Most of us hardly treat breakfast as the most important meal of the day, so we don’t make time to prepare a healthy breakfast even on days when we are less busy and not in a rush. This forces us to opt for ready to eat, quick and easy breakfast like cereal which is mostly unhealthy.
This is because most of the cereals, like honey nut cheerios may taste yummy, but when you check the nutritional content, you will find out that they are loaded with sugar, and they do not have enough fiber and protein. For a diabetic patient, this is not what you need! You don’t need to consume any food that is loaded with added sugar or food that may spike your blood sugar level.
This does not mean all the cereals are bad for people with diabetes, but always check the labels for the nutritional content. Choose cereals with little or no added sugar, made of whole unrefined grain, low in sodium and high in protein.
If you must eat honey nut cheerios, you can include nuts like almonds or walnuts, seeds such as chia seeds and flax seed. You can also add fruit toppings for more nutrients, fiber, healthy fats and protein.
Also, there are other healthy, easy and quick to prepare breakfast options for people with diabetes can opt for in place of breakfast cereals. They are nutritious, filled with fiber and low in sugar. They can help to curb your hunger and help keep you full for longer.
By prioritizing whole grains, fiber, and balanced meals, individuals with diabetes can start their day with a nutritious and blood sugar-friendly breakfast.