Granola: Too much in too little

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Granola has that healthy but sometimes no-so-healthy make up of ingredients. A basic granola recipe contains the following ingredients: oats, some type of sweetener such as sugar or honey, and some type of crisp made from wheat or rice. Then other add ons might include nuts, dried fruits, or even coconut. The major controversy with granola is that only ¼ cup Is one serving, and most of the time granola is not consumed in this small quantity. Some eat it by the cup as cereal or others drown their acai bowls with the crunch. Well, that one fourth cup is composed of 100 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of fiber. Now when nuts, raisons, dark chocolate, or other toppers are included, these numbers rise. A standard cup of granola contains 597 calories and 29 grams of fat. That is so much for such a small amount.


What this means is that filling a bowl with granola and milk to start the day equates to having a 600 calorie breakfast filled with sweeteners. When it comes to granola, a light sprinkle is the recommended serving size to stick to that ¼ cup. This might mean having a little on top of yogurt or a handful as a snack, not a free for all just because it can be bought in health food stores. All calories aside, granola does contain magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and selium. It is considered a whole grain and contains folate, Vitamin E, and thiamin. Granola is also a healthy fat. Magnesium is needed for energy production. Calcium is needed for bone health. Selium, zinc, copper, and manganese are all great for red blood cells, bones, and connective tissue. Folate and thiamin are types of Vitamin B which help with cell growth, metabolism, and nerve function.

Some of the more tasty types of granola are sweetened with honey, syrup, or sprinkled with sugar. If weight loss is your goal, granola may not be the go-to option. Some have more calories and even fat than many types of breakfast cereals. ½ cup of granola has about 13 grams of sugar. That’s like eating half a candy bar. Women are recommended to only have about 24 grams of sugar per day and men about 36 grams, so just that small amount of granola takes up a big chunk of sugar in the day. Too much sugar leads to weight gain and other health problems. Making your own is probably the better option.  It’s misleading that acai bowels and different claimed to be healthy foods are drowned in granola. There are plenty of calories under that granola too, so it’s big setback not a “healthy” selection at all.

Granola certainly has its pros and cons. It is not all bad and it is not all good. It is certainly a type of food that can be misleading. Health food stores even make their own and one tends to think that this snack is a great option versus a bag of chips or candy bar. However, there aren’t always labels on the back to tell you just how much sugar or other ingredients are involved. The key is portion control and not getting carried away with reaching for more and more. There are all sorts of granola bars too. Label reading is very important, especially when it comes to what constitutes what one serving is. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326489163_Development_of_High_Energy_Cereal_and_Nut_Granola_Bar

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-granola-healthy

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/recipes/granola-with-raisins-apples-and-cinnamon/rcp-20049664

https://time.com/4914384/healthy-granola-bar/

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Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.