Muesli - Beware of Calories, Fat, Sugar in Ingredients - Most Muesli is not Healthy
A recent study my Choice Magazine in Australiahas shown that many commercial mueslis are very unhealthy and contain loads of sugar and twice the fat found in a Double Quarter Pounder hamburger (McDonald's). The famous consumer organisation tested about 160 types of muesli and and found that most were not a healthy choice for breakfast.
Whilst is true that most of the fat tended to be the 'good' unsaturated type many muesli contain far too much fat. Some of the fat comes from oats, seeds and nuts but many of the toasted varieties have the ingredients coated with fat and sugar. Buyers should always read the food labels very carefully.
Most people who are concern about this make their own muesli to ensure that there is no added sugar and fat and there are no 'surprises' in the ingredients.
The study found that two gluten-free varieties contained a huge 43 % of sugar, which is 7 % more than the infamous Kelloggs Coco Pops.
If you are eating muesli as part of a diet to lose weight then the overall sugar and fat content and calories in the serving content needs to be considered.
Even a small servings may be laden with calories especially if there are high levels of dried fruit and nuts.
Choice has recommended that a traffic light colour system of labelling be added to all mueslis that rate the fibre, fat, energy and sugar content of the muesli.
Choice also found about 75% of muesli products claimed to be healthy in one way or the other. The claims included:
- low in salt
- no added sugar
- wheat-free claims
- low GI and
- high fibre
- wholegrain content
- high protein
- low in fat
But these claims are often misleading.
For example the claim that one muesli's claimed that it contained 'no added sugar' does not mean that the product is sugar free - far from it.
The inclusion of dried fruit and added honey meant that the product was 28 % sugar by weight.
When buying muesli is it crucial that you check the food value information panel and look at the ingredients list.
Look especially for added honey, glucose and sugars and the total sugar and fat content by weight.
Ignore the 'no added sugar' claim and look at total sugars.
You should be aware what the Jargon means as it can be very Misleading:
Below is a summary of ingredients in a range of the Best of the Best Australian Mueslis (most healthy ones). While many of these varieties may not be available where you live it illustrates the range of the good, the bad and the ugly. It emphasises the need to check the ingredients and food labels.
Why not Make Your Own Muesli?
Muesli is hardly rocket science - basically it is just rolled oats with added dried fruit and nuts. You can start with a small list of ingredients or try the more complicated, but very healthy recipe shown below.You can buy various fruit and nut mixtures and grains such as wheat germ, bran and other ingredients - but its 80% rolled oats. I uses a large container which I top up with various ingredients as I go. My kids think I'm weird because the container develops various layers. Rolled oats, wheat germ, bran and a packed of mixed dried fruit an nuts that's all you need. I don't toast the museli but after adding milk I warm it in a microwave. But everyone has their own preferences.
One sample recipe is shown below. Beware to restrict your portion size. The nutrition information for the receipe is shown below.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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