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Advantages and Disadvantages of Eating Granola

Granola is considered a very healthy cereal, typically consumed during breakfast. It is the result of a mixture of nuts and toasted oats, to which sugar, honey, or any other type of sweetener is added.

Granola can also be prepared with a mixture of other ingredients such as puffed rice, nuts, seeds, spices, and nut butters.

However, some forms of granola contain ingredients that are not recommended, such as oils or syrups, significantly increasing the content of fats and sugars.

In this article, we aim to gather all the information regarding whether or not granola can be considered a healthy ingredient.

Nutritional Composition

One of the first things to keep in mind is that granola provides a high amount of calories, although it also contains a good ratio of protein, fiber, and minerals (primarily micronutrients).

Among these micronutrients, the most important ones are iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium. Among the vitamins, we find those from the B group and also vitamin E.

It’s important to note that the nutritional value of granola depends on the ingredients used to make it, which determines its overall nutritional profile.

Let’s examine the nutritional profile of Kellogg’s low-calorie granola, per 100 grams of product:

  • Energy: 389 kcal
  • Protein: 8.7 g
  • Fat: 5.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 80.9 g
  • Fiber: 7 g

The nutritional profile of granola varies depending on its ingredients. However, in general, it provides a good balance of micronutrients and fiber.

Main Benefits of Granola

Not many scientific studies have been carried out to know the main properties of granola, although they have been made of the ingredients that are part of it, such as almonds, chia, flax seeds, etc.

High in Fiber and Protein

As we observed earlier, the type of granola we analyzed contains up to 7 grams of fiber, which is a significant amount, especially considering that the majority of Western diets often lack sufficient fiber intake.

Similarly, the protein content is noteworthy, with almost 9 grams per 100 grams of granola.

A diet that meets the recommended fiber intake, as outlined by the WHO, can offer several benefits:

Improves Blood Pressure

Foods high in fiber, such as flax seeds or oats, have been shown to help lower blood pressure in the medium term. [See study]

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

An ingredient present in granola, such as oats, contains significant amounts of beta-glucan. We are talking about a fiber class that works by reducing the concentration of cholesterol, specifically LDL. [See study]

Controls Blood Sugar

Most of the nuts and seeds that are part of the granola can regulate blood sugar levels, so their consumption is interesting for patients in the pre-diabetes phase. [See study]

The increase in the fiber base in our diet stimulates intestinal health, favoring a greater number of healthy microorganisms in the stomach and intestines.

In turn, it is also a source of powerful antioxidants that will strengthen our immune system.

An Easy Food to Transport

Whether as a snack for work, a supplement for athletes, or during a hiking trip, granola is easy to carry and serves as a perfect complement to our nutrition. Additionally, it boasts an excellent shelf life and provides extra energy necessary for various activities.

Granola products are available in bar form, making them highly convenient for transportation, with a long shelf life, and packed with protein and fiber for optimal nutrition.

Aspects to Improve of Granola

Characteristics of granola

Not all aspects of this food are advantageous, as in many cases, the caloric intake is quite high and may also contain non-beneficial added sugars.

It’s crucial to analyze the fat content, where vegetable oils such as coconut oil and various seeds, like nuts, may be present. These ingredients can contribute to a caloric excess that may not align with our dietary goals, potentially increasing the risk of obesity or raising the glycemic index. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully examine the nutritional content and consume granola products moderately.

As per dietary recommendations (according to the American USDA), one should not consume more than 10% of the total energy (kcal) in sugars, with an amount not exceeding 50 grams. This includes not only pure sugar but also sugars present in foods such as white bread, fried tomato, preserves, etc.

Depending on the manufacturer, some granolas may contain nearly 20 grams of sugar, which is not recommended and should be avoided whenever possible.

Excessive sugar consumption is associated with chronic diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, cavities, and morbid obesity, among other health issues. [See information scientific]

Granola could increase our weight if consumed in excess, since it usually contains a high volume of calories (including sugars and saturated fats). It is necessary to know the nutritional composition of each product since it varies markedly according to the manufacturer.

Find the Healthiest Granola

With various granola-based products available on the market, it’s essential to pause before purchasing and assess the nutritional composition, clearly and concisely displayed on the label.

It’s advisable to avoid products high in fats and added sugars. As a guideline, refer to the nutritional composition provided at the beginning of this article for a high-quality product, where fats do not exceed 6 grams per 100 grams of product.

It’s recommended that granola ingredients include nuts and whole foods (such as oats and seeds) due to their beneficial properties for our health.

A higher fiber and protein content is preferable, given the positive effects these two components have on our diet.

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About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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