What Are Fortified Cereals and Do They Work?

What Are Fortified Cereals?

The term 'fortification' implies 'a defensive wall or other protection constructed to reinforce a defence against offence' - so what does that have to do with cereals? Well, when they are labelled as 'fortified,' it simply means they have essential minerals and vitamins added to them to help our brains function well.

Fortification is intended to increase the amounts of specific nutrients in people and is popular for foods usually consumed by kids and adults, such as milk, grains, and juice. One of the most widely accepted fortified foods is cereal.

A bowl of fortifying breakfast cereal is commonly packed with the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B1
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B3
  • Zinc

Why Fortify Your Cereals?

Since the 1920s, when additional nutrients were added to help make up for vitamins and minerals missing in people's diets, foods have been fortified. These days, it is easier to meet the recommended nutrient intake with a healthy diet, and a morning bowl of cereal.

If you consume more healthy meals, as compared to unhealthy cereals, this will not only increase your strength but keep your body safe from the unhealthy components of such unhealthy foods.

According to research, adults and kids who consume fortified breakfast cereals have better chances of getting the minerals and vitamins for the upcoming day. Read More.

Salt, Fat and Sugar Levels in Fortified Cereals

To identify the levels of salts, fat, and sugar in foods like whole-grain cereal, use the per 100 g information on the nutrition label:

High in Salts, Fat, or Sugar

  • High in salts: Greater than 1.5 g of salt per 100 g
  • High in fat: Greater than 17.5 g of fat per 100 g
  • High in sugar: Greater than 22.5 g of total sugars per 100 g

Low in Salts, Fat, or Sugar

  • Low in salts: 0.3 g salt or less per 100 g
  • Low in fat: 3 g saturated fat or less per 100 g
  • Low in sugar: 5 g total sugars or less per 100 g

By using the nutrition label, you can also determine the best cereal for weight loss for yourself according to your dietary preferences. Plus, nutrition labels can also answer questions like is muesli healthy, are cornflakes healthy, and is porridge high in fibre etc. for you, as well.

How Many Calories Can Fortified Cereals Provide?

The most important approach to follow is to maintain a healthy weight limit. A healthy weight limit is the 400-600-600 calorie intake for three meals of the day. So, according to that approach, you should be consuming about:

  • 400 kcal for breakfast: This also includes drinks and any other accompanying foods.
  • 600 kcal for lunch: This also covers any kind of drinks and other accompaniments.
  • 600 kcal for dinner: including drinks and any sort of accompanying add-ons.

This calorie approach leaves you with enough margin of calories to enjoy snacks and healthy drinks to keep you feeling full throughout the day. This is especially helpful for women who follow the recommended calorie intake for women which is 2,000 kcal.

Read More: All You Need to Know About Multivitamins & Health Supplements | Comprehensive Guide

Adding Fruits to Fortified Foods

Adding fruits to your cereal works in your benefit, not one but two ways. Not only does it spruce up your everyday breakfast which can get boring after some time, but it also gives you an amazing opportunity to add some fruits in your diet.

Dried fruits, raisins, strawberries, and bananas are some of the best and the most nutritious choices and can be added to any fortifying meal of the day, depending on your needs and tastes. Wash down your fruity meal with a glass of healthy juice, and you will be good to go.

Adding Milk to Fortified Foods

Cereal with milk is not only good for kids but also for every age group, including adults and teenagers. Milk is the most easily available and the richest source of calcium, so add it to your diet by incorporating it in your meals. You can find different types of milk according to your dietary requirements such as skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk, or you can even add low-fat yoghurt.

If you prefer dairy-free options, then some good substitutes for cow milk include oat, soya, and rice based drinks.

Benefits of Using Fortified Cereals

The use of fortifying foods has been increasing with every passing day all over the world, thanks to their unmatched benefits. It has been noticed that diseases caused due to the deficiency of various nutrients can be eliminated by consuming fortifying foods.

The impressive amount of minerals and vitamins in these foods improves health and as a result, strengthens the immune system. Enriched foods are the best part to add to a nutrient-filled diet. Here is why you should consume them:

Increase in the Intake of Nutrients

Most of the people, all over the world, do not meet the recommended amount of dietary nutrients, including minerals and vitamins owing to their fast-paced, busy lifestyles. In such cases, consuming fortified cereals can act as a trusted source of nutrients.

According to research, the consumption of fortified foods increases the intake of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Read Here.

Another group of people that can reap the benefits of nutritionally rich foods includes vegetarians, young children, breastfeeding or pregnant women. The reason behind this is the boosted nutrient needs in all the aforementioned groups of people and foods that are enriched with all those nutrients can easily meet those requirements.

That being said, one important thing to bear in mind is that excess consumption of fortifying foods can increase the chances of consumption of nutrients over the normal recommended limits.

A Decrease in the Risks of Birth Defects

Fortifying cereal grains that are lined with folic acid are a synthetic form of folate. They have, very successfully, decreased the occurrence of neural tube defects in newly born babies. Neural tube defects are one of the most common birth defects, in babies all over the world, and due to folate, thankfully, the occurrence of this defect has significantly decreased. The reason behind this is that folate, which is actually a vitamin B, in essence, is mandatory for proper development and growth.

Therefore, fortified cereals are also beneficial for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant by providing them with the right kind of nutrition.

According to research, every woman who falls in the age category of childbearing is recommended to consume at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily in the form of supplements and/or fortified foods, as well as try consuming foods rich in folate. View

What Kind of Cereal Should You Opt For?

The best option is to opt for meals like high fibre porridge that are high in fibre but low in sugar. When buying for foods, look for those products that have less than 6 grams of sugar and offer at least 3 grams of fibre in every serving.

Moreover, do not forget to ignore proteins, as well. Since, most of the breakfast foods lack protein in them, try including a rich source of protein in your meals to create a balanced meal which is not only tasty but satisfying as well.

Nuts, peanut butter, and Greek yoghurt are packed with proteins and are easily available too. However, the best options would be still unprocessed foods like yoghurt, eggs, fruit, and porridge, for a truly nutrient-rich and balanced meal.

Fibre is known to reduce cholesterol levels, increase the feeling of fullness, along with its other benefits. View.

Is Shredded Wheat Good for You?

When it comes to conventional breakfast cereals, shredded wheat is one of the best options you can choose for yourself. It is most beneficial when taken with low-fat milk. The reason why it is one of the best traditional breakfast meals is that it is free of any kind of salt or sugar and is packed with a high amount of fibre.

Bear in mind though, that some of these cereals contain fruit fillings in them which are pre-added and act as a source of sugar. Some products are labelled as ‘frosted’, they also have a lot of sugar added to them. So, if you do not mind that type of sugar, then you are good, but if you want to avoid sugar, do not buy any products that are frosted or have fruits.

Instead of consuming pre-added fruits, try adding freshly cut fruits like berries, bananas, or strawberries.

Final Takeaway 

Fortified cereals can be helpful in the prevention of certain nutrient deficiencies, and that is why they are commonly eaten all over the world. However, they can have misleading claims and can be loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugar. 

While fortified foods can definitely contribute to a balanced diet, they alone are not sufficient. A well-rounded diet that is filled with vegetables and other whole foods is also necessary. To get all the nutrients you need, you cannot rely on fortification alone.