GRANOLA: CEREAL OF THE YEAR
Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, spices, honey or other sweeteners such as brown sugar, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until it is crisp, toasted and golden brown. Dried fruit, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added. Granola is often eaten in combination with yogurt, honey, fresh fruit (such as bananas, strawberries or blueberries), milk or other forms of cereal.
The granola cereal is quite healthy since it contains oats, nuts and seeds; but it is also important to note that it contains some ingredients as chocolates, oils and syrups which may be high in added sugars and fats.
The names Granula and Granola were registered trademarks in the late 19th century United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and then baked until crisp, in contrast to the, at that time (about 1900), contemporary invention, muesli, which is traditionally neither baked nor sweetened.
Granola is calorie-dense, as well as rich in protein, fiber, and micronutrients. In particular, it may provide iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
However, its nutritional profile varies widely depending on the specific ingredients used.
|Nutrients||½ cup of kellogs low fat granola (50g)||½ cup of gyspy crunch low fat granola (50g)|
The table clearly gives a comparison between two brands of granola and shows how Certain brands may have more calories, protein, fiber, fat, or sugar than others.
Benefits of granola
Although there’s little scientific research on granola itself, common ingredients, including oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, and almonds, are linked to numerous health benefits.
Filling and high in fiber
Most granola is rich in protein and fiber, which both contribute to fullness.
Protein even influences levels of important fullness hormones like ghrelin and GLP-1 ( The main actions of GLP-1 are to stimulate insulin secretion (i.e., to act as an incretin hormone) and to inhibit glucagon secretion, thereby contributing to limit postprandial glucose excursions. It also inhibits gastrointestinal motility and secretion and thus acts as an enterogastrone and part of the “ileal brake” mechanism)
High-protein ingredients in granola may include nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews, and seeds like hemp, pumpkin, and sesame.
Additionally, high-fiber foods like oats, nuts, and seeds slow down the emptying of your stomach and increase digestion time, which can help you feel fuller for longer — and may aid appetite control.
Other potential health benefits
Granola may also:
Improve blood pressure. High-fiber ingredients like oats and flax seeds have been shown to help in the management of high blood pressure
Reduce cholesterol levels. Oats are a good source of beta glucan, a type of fiber that works to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, two risk factors for heart disease
Reduce blood sugar. Whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds may help manage and control blood sugar levels, particularly in people with obesity or prediabetes
Improve gut health. Granola has been found to increase levels of healthy gut bacteria, compared with refined breakfast cereals
Provide many antioxidants. Ingredients such as coconut, chia seeds, and Brazil nuts are good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants like gallic acid, quercetin, selenium, and vitamin E
Downsides of granola
Although granola contains several healthy ingredients, it can be high in calories and packed with added fats and sugars.
Fats like vegetable oil, coconut oil, and nut butters are often included to help bind the ingredients, add flavor, and aid in the toasting process.
However, these can supply excess calories. Eating more than the specified portion may lead to unwanted weight gain, increasing your risk of obesity and metabolic disease.Additionally, its ideal to limit your sugar intake to 10% of your total daily calories, which equates to about 12 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet .Some granolas might contain nearly 4 teaspoons (17 grams) of sugar in a single serving. Because it’s common to eat more than the standard serving size, you could be getting a substantial amount of sugar in just one bowl.
It is important to watch out for ingredients like chocolate chips, honey, and dried fruit with added sugar.
Granola may prompt weight gain if eaten in excess, as it can be high in calories from added fats and sugars. What’s more, sugar is linked to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
How to choose a healthy granola
Because ingredients vary widely by brand, it’s important to read nutrition labels carefully when shopping for granola.
Check the ingredient list, avoiding products that list sugar or sweeteners —including natural sweeteners like honey — within the first few ingredients.
Instead, the first few ingredients should be whole foods, such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
You may also want to look for varieties high in protein and fiber. Aim for at least 3–5 grams of fiber per serving
What’s more, you should carefully consider serving sizes, which vary from 2 tablespoons (12.5 grams) to 2/3 cup (67 grams). Particularly small serving sizes can be misleading, as you’re likely to consume more than that amount.
Finally, you can make granola yourself to minimize or eliminate added sugar and fat. However, remember that nuts and seed are still calorie-dense, so be sure to watch your portions even for homemade varieties.
The bottom line
Granola is a nutritious, filling cereal.
However, many varieties are high in calories and packed with excess sugar, which can harm your health.
Be sure to carefully read labels, choosing products with whole ingredients — like raisins, seeds, and nuts — that are high in protein and fiber.
No one should deceive you into using it as a super food to aid weight loss or cure diabetes or other non communicable diseases.