When you combine rolled oats, brown sugar or honey, dried fruit, and nuts, you end up with undoubtedly one of the most delicious breakfast options – granola. But like with everything in life, if it seems to be too good to be true, it normally is. Is the granola option a healthy one? Experts advise us to read the ingredient list very carefully.
A spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association warns that ‘most granolas are classified as high in sugar, with more than 12.5g of sugar per 100g. Much of which has been purposefully added to make it taste better than the granola originally found in health food shops. According to British health guidelines, it is recommended that we don’t consume more than 90g of sugar in a day.
It has been found that some brands add loads of other ingredients to their product and in some cases they add three different sorts of sugar. A bowl of this could easily contain more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola. In this case you would be much better off eating a simpler and less sugary breakfast such as Weet-Bix, which also contains more fibre.
Although granola initially looks healthy, most brands have very high saturated fat content. Compare your granola mixture in your cupboard to the following: A large portion of McDonald’s fries has only 2g of saturated fat and a hamburger just 3g. Some granolas can have up to 226g, nearly a third of your daily allowance. British government guidelines recommend that only 35 per cent of your calorie intake is fat. By eating this for breakfast you will consume a third of your daily calorie allowance which is fine if you don’t snack on anything during the day.
A bowl of granola could easily contain half your saturated fat for the day. However, the granola has good fibre content and the addition of seeds makes it healthier and more likely to fill you up compared to a fast-food breakfast.
Dieticians warn that roughly a third of your daily fat intake could be in as little as just 100g granola. But 100g doesn’t look like much – you’ll probably be putting around twice as much in your bowl. This means that you could easily consume half your daily calorie allowance at breakfast. If you’re trying to lose weight, think twice before opting for this and if you do, make sure you weigh it out, or you may as well eat poached eggs and grilled bacon, which could have fewer calories and less fat.
What to eat
A good choice would be a brand containing oats, fruit and nuts. This means it will have a low Glycemic Index – the measure of how quickly glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. A low GI means you feel fuller for longer. Seeds are a good source of Omega 3 and 6, ideal if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Granola has health benefits, but keep a tight control on portion sizes.