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The Cereal “Box” for Fiber Folks

Kashi GO LEAN is considered one of the better high-fiber cerealsNearly 20 years ago, my doctor told me that I had IBS.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  I was getting my annual physical exam and lamented about consistently painful bowel movements and related flaming hemorrhoids.

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One of his recommendations was a daily dose of high-fiber laxative and a high-fiber diet.  The diet made me an instant convert to bran cereals and pitted prunes.  All I needed now was an AARP membership card and a subscription to Reader’s Digest.  I felt much older than my 32 years.

Today, at 50,  I still go the bran or multi-grain routes for cold cereal.  After a few years of Post or generic Bran Flakes, my wife recommended alternatives like Cascadian Organic Multi-Grain Squares to keep that nast]y high-fructose corn syrup out of my digestive system.  Fast forwarding to today, I read an article posted on that’s fit, a healthy eating Web site. They recommend Kirkland Signature Spiced Pecan at 33 cents a serving and 7 grams of fiber (28% of the RDA), t]hen Kashi GO LEAN low-fat cereal that has 10 grams of fiber (40% of the RDA) and only six grams of sugar.  Archer Farms has 14 grams of sugar flavoring the cinnamon-sweet cereal but ranks second for its 10 grams of fiber.  Kellogg’s Raising Bran Extra!, Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran, WalMart’s GreatValue Raisin Bran and Barbara’s Bakery Ultimate Organic rounds out the that’s fit list.

Curiosity compelled me to save several boxes of my high-fiber favorites for comparison.  General Mills Multi-Bran Chex is a family favorite.  It has six grams of fiber and 10 grams of sugar derived from corn, sorghum and molasses.  A new favorite, Post Grape Nuts, compares favorably — with seven grams of dietary fiber and only four grams of sugar.   I guess it still “fills you up, not out.” The Cascadian Farms Mult-Grain Squares actually don’t fare well.  Per 3/4 cup serving, CFO Multi-Grain Squares has 14 grams of (naturally milled) sugar, and only three grams of dietary fiber.   I figured, “Well, the buck-99 box of Roundy’s Bran Flakes must be worse.” Wrong.  The generic brand has no dietary fat, five grams of fiber and just five grams of sugar, despite listing high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. And it’s less than 12 cents a serving when on sale.

Picking a high-fiber cereal can really put us in a box.  The moral seems to be, Think outside of the box about what’s in the box. Organic doesn’t necessarily mean healthiest.  HFCS is a problem when there’s too much of it.  And any natural high-fiber cereal without added sugar is probably a safe choice.  For me , it’s pass the Grape Nuts, please.

Photo from That’s Fit Web site.

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