Breakfast cereals are a go-to for many children and adults.
Over the past 30 years, Honey Bunches of Oats has been one popular option.
However, a lot of controversy surrounds the health effects of eating breakfast cereals.
This article tells you whether Honey Bunches of Oats is a healthy choice.
Honey Bunches of Oats mixes three kinds of whole grains, including corn, whole wheat, and whole oats.
It also contains a fair amount of refined carbs, as well as other natural and artificial ingredients.
Like most breakfast cereals, it’s high in carbs and low in fiber, protein, and fats.
A 3/4-cup (30-gram) serving of the cereal’s traditional flavor packs the following (
- Calories: 120
- Carbs: 23 grams
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 2.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 16% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 60% of the DV
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12: 25% of the DV
- Folic acid: 50% of the DV
Nevertheless, the nutritional profile of the cereal changes when milk is added, increasing its total calorie count by 40–60 calories and altering the overall carb, protein, and fat content.
Authorities suggest that breakfast should provide 20–25% of your daily calories, particularly from grains, fruit, and dairy products (
You can easily meet this recommendation by adding some milk and fruit to your serving of Honey Bunches of Oats.
Honey Bunches of Oats is made from both whole and refined grains. Like most cereals, it’s high in carbs but low in fiber, protein, and fats.
Many of the health claims attributed to breakfast cereals are based on their high vitamin and mineral contents.
To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required breakfast cereals in the United States to be fortified since the 1940s (
Thus, nutrients are added during processing to ensure higher quantities. As such, most of the vitamins and minerals in Honey Bunches of Oats are due to fortification.
Nevertheless, research shows that cereal fortification with iron and folic acid has helped significantly reduce cases of anemia and neural tube defects, respectively (
What’s more, studies in children and adolescents have linked regular breakfast cereal intake to increased milk consumption, which helps contribute to higher calcium and vitamin B2 intakes (
Though most of the vitamins and minerals in Honey Bunches of Oats are added during processing, they may help overcome or prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Due to its nutritional profile, Honey Bunches of Oats may not provide a balanced breakfast.
High in added sugar
Most breakfast cereals are packed with added sugar.
Product ingredients are listed in order of quantity. This means that the ingredient that was used the most will be first on the list, while the one that was used the least will be last.
Sugar is usually listed among the first three ingredients in many breakfast cereals, including Honey Bunches of Oats.
High intakes of added sugar and refined carbs have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain (
Plus, since most breakfast cereals are marketed to children, kids are presented with high-sugar foods from an early age.
This exposure alters their eating behavior and preferences for sweeter tastes, leading to an even higher risk of developing the aforementioned conditions (
Low in fiber and protein
The fact that Honey Bunches of Oats contains several whole grains gives the impression that it’s a healthy, high-fiber cereal.
However, its nutritional information proves otherwise.
A product is considered a good source of fiber when it contains at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, and high in fiber when it contains at least 5 grams (
Both fiber and protein help you feel fuller for longer because they’re digested at a slower rate. In turn, this helps regulate your food intake and body weight (
A study in 48 people found that those eating a high-fiber oatmeal breakfast felt fuller over 4 hours than those who ate a low-fiber breakfast cereal. The higher-fiber breakfast also led to reduced hunger and food intake (
Studies on protein intake show similar results.
For instance, a 12-week study in 55 adolescents noted that eating a breakfast that included 35 grams of protein prevented body fat gain and led to reduced calorie intake and hunger levels, compared with a breakfast that included 13 grams of protein (
Breakfast cereals are often high in sugar and low in fiber and protein, as is the case with Honey Bunches of Oats. This results in decreased feelings of fullness and a greater risk of metabolic diseases.
Research suggests that choosing breakfast options that include whole grains and nutrient-dense foods, such as eggs and other protein sources, may contribute to better health outcomes (
U.S Dietary Guidelines suggest eating at least 3 servings of whole grains and 5.5 servings of protein per day (
Including some of them in your breakfast can help you meet this recommendation.
Here are a few healthier breakfast alternatives:
- Overnight oats. Mix raw oats with water or milk and let them soak overnight in the fridge. Top with fruits, unsweetened coconut, nut butter, or seeds in the morning.
- Breakfast burritos. Wrap scrambled eggs in a whole-wheat tortilla and toss in some veggies for extra fiber.
- Breakfast smoothie. Blend your favorite fruits with your choice of milk and add some Greek yogurt for extra protein. You can also include oats as a source of high-fiber carbs.
- Avocado toast. Spread 1–2 tablespoons of mashed avocado on whole-grain bread. You can top it with some hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or salmon for a source of high-quality protein.
- Veggie omelet. Whisk a couple of eggs and season them to taste. Cook them in a pan and add as many veggies as you like before flipping the omelet.
- Oatmeal pancakes. Mix a couple of eggs, raw oats, a banana, and chia seeds in a bowl. Add some cinnamon and vanilla extract for extra flavor and pour the batter in a pan to cook the pancakes.
- Chia pudding. Stir together your milk of choice and about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Let them sit for an hour or overnight and enjoy with fresh fruit and nuts.
Remember to opt for a whole-foods-based breakfast whenever possible. Don’t forget to add some protein to help you feel fuller for longer.
Though Honey Bunches of Oats is fortified with vitamins and minerals, it fails to provide a balanced breakfast, as — like most breakfast cereals — it’s high in added sugar and low in fiber and protein.
Dietary guidelines encourage you to include plenty of fiber and protein in your morning routine.
These practices help control your appetite throughout the day, thus balancing your overall daily calorie intake and reducing your risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.