Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Cheerios Bad For You?



Short answer

Cheerios aren't as healthy as many believe. While General Mills, the company that produces the cereal, claims that Cheerios promote heart health and lower cholesterol, these claims are basically unfounded. Not to mention, Cheerios are filled with modified ingredients and preservatives.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

For years, General Mills has been marketing Cheerios with a campaign claiming that the breakfast cereal offers health benefits like improving heart health and reducing cholesterol. The brand is advertised as being a healthy and wholesome alternative to sugary cereals. While the marketing effort has done wonders to convince consumers to add Cheerios to their diet, the list of ingredients on each box shows that they may not be the healthiest breakfast option.

The heart healthy claim made by Cheerios is based on the cereal being made from whole grains. Whole grains offer essential nutrients to cells and provide soluble fiber which can help to reduce cholesterol. However, during the production process, the grains are manipulated with heat, pressure, and chemicals to such an extent that most nutritional value is lost. In addition to losing the value of the fiber contained in the cereal, each serving also contains a significant amount of sugar. For example, the multigrain variety of Cheerios contain 6 grams of sugar for each one cup serving. Other flavors, like chocolate and peanut butter, contain even more sugar in a smaller serving size.

If the cereal doesn't offer health benefits, why is company allowed to make the healthy breakfast claim in advertising and online? The FDA regulations about these claims are very lax. Companies can recommend their product as part of a healthy diet, as long as they include the caveat that the product should be eaten along with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Possible short-term side effects

  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • diabetes
  • weakened immune system
  • elevated blood sugar

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • organic cereals
  • fresh fruits
  • organic rolled oats
  • shredded wheat

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Barbara's Morning Oat Crunch

  • Heart-healthy cereal
  • Rich in fiber
  • Non-GMO verified
  • 14 Oz box
  • Deliciously crunchy
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kathan Natrajan
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kathan Natrajan
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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