Are Cheerios Good for You?

Manufactured by General Mills, Cheerios is a popular American brand of a line of ready-to-eat cereals. You can find these cereals in many different flavors, including multigrain, original, honey nut, banana nut, berry, chocolate, frosted, apple cinnamon, fruit, and yogurt. Whatever the choice, they all contain vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals, which make them a great choice for anyone trying to achieve certain fitness goals. However, some varieties of Cheerios contain added sugar, and this makes people question whether they are healthy or not. Keep reading to learn more.

Basic Information

A one-cup serving of the cereal contains 100 calories with 2g of fat and 1g of sugar (numbers may change according to different flavors and ingredients).

It also contains other ingredients such as cornstarch, whole grain oats, maple syrup, salt, and tripotassium phosphate. The cereal also contains several minerals and vitamins, including calcium carbonate, zinc, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, niacinamide, folic acid, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12. 

Ingredients Dissected

Before responding to the concern--are Cheerios good for you?It is important to dissect the ingredients list first. Do they really offer any health benefits? Let's find out:

  • Whole Grain: Although Cheerios varieties contain whole grain, you will not get the same benefits by consuming whole grains grounding down to flour. Upon entering your body, this may work more like simple sugar than a healthy complex carb.
  • Cornstarch: You should not rely too much on the presence of cornstarch to call Cheerios healthy. Cornstarch does not offer high quality nutrition, especially when you know nothing about its source. It may actually be harmful if it comes from genetically modified sources.
  • Sugar and Salt: If you ask an expert to make a list of healthy ingredients in food, sugar and salt will definitely not be in top five.
  • Trisodium Phosphate (TSP): It is actually a common cleaning agent, stain remover, food additive, and degreaser. And it is not a good idea to ingest such compounds in your body. TSP actually works as an emulsifier, acidity regulator, nutrition enlargement agent, and thickening agent in food. While the FDA states it is safe, you should still think twice before adding any such chemical to your food.
  • Calcium Carbonate: While calcium carbonate is a dietary source of calcium, it is also used as a color retainer, food preservative, emulsifier, or bleaching agent.
  • Monoglycerides: They are basically modified fats, and present in Cheerios to blend together ingredients such as water and oil. These fatty acids are obtained from vegetable or animal sources, but can also be made synthetically.
  • Tocopherols: They are basically organic compounds that consist of methylated phenols. They have vitamin E activity and help preserve food.

Debates – Are Cheerios Good for You?

Since you have information about the ingredients in Cheerios, you may already be in a position to decide on you own. There are many proponents and opponents of Cheerios and they have highlighted several pros and cons of choosing Cheerios as your breakfast cereal.


These cereals are made from whole grain and contain essential vitamins and minerals.

  • There are 14g of whole grain in each serving of all Cheerios varieties – you need to take 48g a day though.
  • Cheerios cereal varieties do not contain any cholesterol because they use whole grain only.
  • They taste quite good, especially if you opt for Honey Nut Cheerios cereal and Original Cheerios cereal. They are crunchy and are popular among both adults and kids.
  • They will help you maintain healthy body weight since the cereals contain quite a few calories.


A number of food writers stated that highly-processed breakfast cereals are never good for your health irrespective of what sorts of whole grains they use. Extremely high heat and pressure used during the production process can easily change the molecular structure of the grains. Not to mention numerous chemicals that have been added during the process to improve the texture.

These cereals also contain sugar, salt, and fat for flavoring and to improve their shelf life, but this may make people eat more than the recommended amount and lead to many conditions.

Cheerios once claimed in commercial ads that their products could reduce cholesterol levels by 4% in 6 weeks; the company also claimed that Cheerios can help reduce heart disease, reduces the risk of cancer, and even treat hypercholesterolemia. All these claims are in violation of section 201 (g)(I)(B) of the Act. The cereal should be approved as drug if it really fulfills the claims it makes. And the FDA has ordered the company to alter its marketing campaign.


So, when you tried to find an answer to--Are Cheerios good for you?The quick verdict is yes and no. The bottom line is that even though Cheerios have vitamins, minerals, and whole grain, the fact that it is processed makes it less healthy. You will be better off starting with adding fruit to your bowl of cereal or even better is to make your own food and know how many calories, fat, and nutrients you are actually getting.

Click here to learn more about the flavors and ingredients found in Cheerios.

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