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Cereal Label Facts Project Report

Different food products have different nutritional composition thus the need for food labeling. The ingredients that food processors use bring about this change. Additionally, the process of preparing foods before consumption may also alter the nutritional constitution of foods (Alias, and Mohd 66). It is important to go through the nutritional composition of foods, provided in the food labels, before purchasing them especially for people with special dietary requirements.

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Our health is a mirror image of the food choices we make as well as our genetic makeup. My family history requires special dietary requirements due to some diseases characteristic of our family: diabetes from my paternal side and heart disease from my maternal side. The following are key nutritional contents to consider on the food labels: the fat content should be low, and preferably free of cholesterol. Nutritionists recommend that fiber, both the soluble and insoluble, must be present for the purposes of slowing digestion and ease in excretion. Carbohydrates like oats and corn with emphasis on gluten-free if prone to allergies is a vital source of nutrients to the body. The recommended dietary allowance for protein in a cereal product is essential especially when milk is one of the additives to the meal. This is to avoid exceeding the recommended number of calories in one’s body. One should use the right and recommended size to avoid either over or under consumption of that particular cereal. One should consume vitamins and minerals in the right proportions. These vital components of food include vitamin A that helps in boosting good vision, immunity and body healing ability; Calcium for the formation and strengthening of bones and Vitamin C, which helps in producing collagen used as the connective tissue that holds bones at the joints. Additionally, it lowers cholesterol and aids to absorb iron. One requires Vitamin B1 for converting blood sugar to energy and keeping the nervous system healthy, vitamin B6 that is very instrumental in maintaining white blood cells for antibodies and proper chemical balance of fluids in the body. Vitamin B12 is also essential for processing carbohydrates and fats in the bodies and provides memory and concentration.

General Mill Trix, which is one of my favorite, is a fruit-flavored cereal made from wheat fortified with vitamins like B-6, B-12 and minerals such as calcium and iron. Its ingredients include whole-wheat flour, sugar, whole grain oats, canola oil, corn syrup and brown rice flour. It has dyes as well as preservatives like salt and baking soda. The corn is the main ingredient and it is good for people with gluten resistance. However, the amount of gluten in corn is very little or almost negligible as compared to that of other components that make cereals like oats. The cereal does not have fats and cholesterol. Additionally, it does not contain animal products thus the need to mix it with skimmed milk or low-fat milk as a supplement. One should use the correct amount of milk in reconstituting the cereal as it has 120 calories to avoid exceeding the recommended dietary need. The amount carbohydrates of available in the General Mill Trix is minimal which makes it right for people with diabetes as long as the person in question closely monitors his/her intake of other types of carbohydrates. This is because the cereal has around 27g of carbohydrates and the recommended amount is 45 to 60g of carbohydrates per meal. Fiber supplements are essential in ones diet as the cereal has at most 6% of dietary fiber, which is not adequate for the proper functioning of the body.

Of the four cereal products, my best choice is super healthy breakfast cereal (Heart Healthy Whole Grain Cranberry Instant Oatmeal (Trader Joe’s). It has the wholesome goodness of oats, which are pre-baked completely retaining lots of fiber. Part of it is soluble fiber which is easily digested but because of the bran retained in the body, they do not strain diabetic individuals’ insulin production leaving his sugar within the safe margin of below 6 two to three hours long after feeding. Dried cranberries add flavor and fructose to the diet. It is important to note that cranberries contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases by lowering the excessive plasma cholesterol in circulation in the blood vessels. Plant sterol esters found in cranberries also give cholesterol-fighting properties. The cereal has some vital components of flaxseed that offer omega-3 fatty acids, which essentially prevents cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids help in boosting ones resistance to high cholesterol related diseases. Finally, the calories provided per serving are 160 as one uses hot water for the cereal’s reconstitution as opposed to addition of milk.

The healthiest cereal is super healthy breakfast cereal (Heart Healthy Whole Grain Cranberry Instant Oatmeal (Trader Joe’s). Vitamin A aids in cell development, boosts immunity, good vision and enhances the ability to heal wounds faster. This is particularly important for diabetics because the disease reduces the immunity level of the victims especially their sight and wound-healing ability. Consequently, the disease may lead to amputations of peripheries (hands and limbs). Vitamin C produces collagen in the body that connects the tissue that holds bones at the joints together. Its absence results in swollen and painful joints mimicking arthritis. In addition, Vitamin C aids in absorbing iron, which is vital in the manufacturing of blood. Scientists classify Oats as organic foods that are free of toxins that cause cancer. Organic foods are the preferred choice in cases of people who have diabetes and hypertension whose kidney and liver are constantly purifying toxins in the body accumulated by constant use of medicines to stabilize the conditions. These foods lessen the burden on these organs by adding fiber that increases the time of digestion thus affecting the excretion. This cereal has flax seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (Jose, Badimon, and Andrea 11). They help the body to clear up cholesterol.

The packaging of the cereals is also important. The packing of Heart Healthy Whole Grain Cranberry Instant Oatmeal (Trader Joe’s) in portions makes it easier to use it as a snack unlike the other cereals that one has to portion for himself. Furthermore, it uses water and not milk, which is common with other cereals. The recommended dietary allowance part of a fruit added into a cereal eliminates the need to add tabled sugar and adds fiber.

This project shades more light on ones understanding of the nutritional value of the cereal products on the market. It is important to include in the food labels the different calories found in whole milk, skimmed, low-fat milk as well as other serving options to educate the consumer fully. Secondly, the food labels should also breakdown further the use of a choice of components in the entire food as opposed to just listing them as is the current trend. A detailed pamphlet will go a long way in educating the very keen shopper. Future classes should include biochemical analysis of foods to find out the use food labels. This would also enhance the knowledge of the chemical composition and sensory properties and as part of quality management program in the food labels.

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Works cited

Alias, Randam, and Mohd, Rusli. “Consumer’s Perceptions, Attitudes and Willingness to Pay Towards Food Products with ‘No Added Message’ Labeling”. International Journal of Marketing Studies 2.1 (2010): 65-77. Print.

Jose, Lopez-Miranda, Badimon, Lina, and Andrea Benanome. “Monounsaturated Fat And Cardiovascular Risk.” Nutrition Reviews 64.10 (2006): 10-12. Print.

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