Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Life Cereal Bad For You?



Short answer

There are worse things to eat for breakfast, but Life Cereal likely isn't as healthy as you may have been lead to believe.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Life Cereal isn't terrible as far as cereals go. It'll get you on the road to your daily recommended allowance of minerals like zinc, magnesium and calcium - most sitting somewhere between 5 and 25 percent. There's quite a bit of iron in life cereal, as well - it's the cereal's mineral standout, providing 45% of your recommended daily value. If you struggle with anemia - especially if you don't eat meat and are looking for more iron in a vegetarian diet - Life Cereal can help you to make inroads towards increasing the amount of iron in your diet.

There's a fair number of B vitamins in Life Cereal as well. You need these nutrients for healthy skin, hair, and eyes. They come with frightening latinate names, however - don't be put off when you see niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, or thiamine mononitrate on the side of the box.

Life cereal has six grams of added sugar, which is well below the maximum 13 grams recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Although it's made with whole grain oats and wheat flour, there's not much fiber to speak of - only about 2 grams per serving. A bowl of plain oatmeal - although not fortified with vitamins as Life is - will provide you with more dietary fiber.

Worrying, Life Cereal is colored with Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These artificial colors are controversial and have been linked to hyperactivity, developmental problems, thyroid disorders, and increased cancer risk. The evidence is mixed, and the FDA still allows for their use - nonetheless, companies like Nestle have bowed to increasing public pressure and pledged to phase out the use of artificial colors in their products. PepsiCo owns Quaker Oats, the manufacturer of Life Cereal; although they've moved to take certain artificial sweeteners out of Diet Pepsi, they've so far stayed mum about artificial colors in cereal.

Life Cereal also contains a preservative - BHT, which helps to keep different oils and fats from going rancid. It's generally regarded as safe by the FDA, but the national institute of health says that it's "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." The evidence here is also mixed - BHT has been shown to cause forestomach cancer in rats in doses much larger than it's found in cereals. There's not evidence as of yet that BHT is carcinogenic in people - indeed, we don't have forestomachs or rodent metabolisms - but consumer advocacy groups such as the Environmental Working Group have successfully campaigned for companies like General Mills to remove it from their foods. So far, Quaker Oats has not done the same.

Possible short-term side effects

  • blood sugar spike
  • hyperactivity

Possible long-term side effects

  • developmental problems
  • thyroid disorders
  • diabetes
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of


  • good source of:
  • zinc
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • b vitamins

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Morning Os Cereal

  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • No artificial flavors
  • Whole grain goodness
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources | Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 11-14-2023
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 11-14-2023
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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