What Is Fortified Cereal, and Is It Wholesome?

Cereal is a well-liked breakfast meals that’s typically fortified.

Chances are you’ll wonder if fortified cereals are wholesome, as many boast spectacular well being claims on their packaging.

This text takes an in-depth take a look at fortified cereals and their well being results.

Fortified meals comprise added nutritional vitamins and minerals that aren’t naturally current in them.

Fortification is supposed to enhance folks’s ranges of explicit vitamins and is frequent for meals that adults and youngsters sometimes eat, reminiscent of grains, milk, and juice. Cereal is among the mostly fortified meals.

For instance, 1 cup (40 grams) of fortified Complete cereal boasts 40 mg of iron — 100% of the Every day Worth (DV) (1).

As the identical dimension serving of an unfortified wheat cereal meets solely 10% of the DV, a lot of breakfast cereals’ iron content material could also be resulting from fortification (2).

It’s necessary to observe your nutrient consumption, as many individuals in the USA don’t eat sufficient iron, calcium, or nutritional vitamins A, C, D, and E. Deficiencies might result in detrimental well being results (3).

Breakfast cereals are generally fortified with the next vitamins (4, 5):

  • vitamin A
  • thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • niacin (vitamin B3)
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • folic acid
  • zinc
  • iron
  • calcium


Fortified cereals comprise added nutritional vitamins and minerals to assist enhance nutrient consumption.

Meals producers typically fortify ready-to-eat, pre-packaged cereals — and typically sizzling cereals like oatmeal (6).

Nevertheless, fortified cereals should not inherently wholesome. Whereas some are made with entire grains and excessive in fiber and protein, others comprise nearly no vitamins.

For instance, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes gives no fiber and only one gram of protein per 3/four cup (29 grams) (7).

You may inform if a cereal is fortified as a result of the added vitamins might be specified on the packaging. Usually, under the ingredient listing, there’s an inventory of nutritional vitamins and minerals used to fortify the product.

Take into account that fortification varies by area. It’s extra frequent to seek out fortified cereals in Western nations (8).

What’s extra, sure nations, together with the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, and South Africa, mandate the fortification of wheat flour with folic acid, so it’s extra frequent to seek out folic-acid-enriched cereals in these locations (9).

Notably, cereals which are much less closely processed are much less prone to be fortified. For instance, muesli normally consists of unfortified entire oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.


Many packaged, ready-to-eat cereals are fortified. To find out whether or not your cereal is fortified, test the label for nutritional vitamins and minerals listed under the elements.

Consuming fortified cereal might assist stop nutrient deficiencies.

Improved nutrient consumption

Many individuals in the USA don’t meet the dietary suggestions for sure nutritional vitamins and minerals. As such, consuming fortified meals might assist (9, 10, 11).

A current research famous that consuming fortified meals boosted the consumption of folate and nutritional vitamins A and C (12).

Some folks, reminiscent of younger kids, vegetarians, and pregnant or breastfeeding ladies, might profit significantly from fortified cereals resulting from their elevated nutrient wants (10, 13).

That mentioned, fortified meals might improve your threat of exceeding sure nutrient suggestions (14, 15).

Decrease threat of start defects

Fortifying cereal grains with folic acid — the artificial type of folate — has efficiently decreased the incidence of neural tube defects, that are probably the most frequent start defects in North America (16).

Folate is a B vitamin needed for correct development and growth (16, 17).

Actually, all ladies of childbearing age are suggested to eat 400 mcg of folic acid day by day from fortified meals and/or dietary supplements, in addition to eat folate-rich meals (9, 18).

Subsequently, fortified cereal might profit ladies who’re or might grow to be pregnant.


Fortified cereals might scale back your threat of nutrient deficiencies. Particularly, fortifying meals with folic acid has helped scale back the incidence of start defects.

Whereas fortification can improve nutrient content material, cereal remains to be a processed meals and isn’t essentially wholesome.

Could also be loaded with sugar and refined carbs

Many fortified cereals are excessive in added sugar and refined carbs (6).

Plus, most individuals eat greater than the really helpful serving dimension. Actually, a research in 72 adults decided that individuals ate 200% of the labeled serving dimension, on common (14, 18).

As an example, 1 cup (53 grams) of Raisin Bran Crunch packs 13 grams of added sugar. Doubling that portion dimension would offer a whopping 26 grams of added sugar (19, 20).

In accordance with the American Coronary heart Affiliation (AHA), ladies and men ought to restrict their day by day consumption of added sugar to 25 and 37.5 grams, respectively (21, 22).

Which means a bowl or two of fortified cereal might simply put you near — and even above — your day by day sugar restrict.

Not solely do Individuals are inclined to already exceed tips for sugar consumption, however diets excessive in added sugars are additionally related to an elevated threat of power circumstances like weight problems, coronary heart illness, and diabetes (9, 23).

Deceptive well being claims

Many producers label their cereals with deceptive well being claims, reminiscent of “low-fat” or “whole-grain” (24).

That is misleading as a result of the first elements are normally refined grains and sugar.

For instance, Honey Nut Cheerios are marketed as serving to decrease ldl cholesterol. But, a 1-cup (37-gram) serving comprises 12 grams of sugar (25).

Analysis means that diets excessive in added sugar increase your threat of coronary heart illness (26, 27).

Such deceptive claims might lead folks to overeat meals that aren’t wholesome. What’s extra, many fortified cereals are marketed to kids. Research reveal that ads have an effect on kids’s style preferences and should contribute to weight problems threat (28).

As such, it is best to learn labels fastidiously to keep away from any misleading claims.


Fortified cereals are usually not as wholesome as their packaging asserts, as many are excessive in added sugar and refined carbs.

It’s finest to decide on cereals which are low in sugar and excessive in fiber. Search for sorts with fewer than 6 grams of sugar and not less than Three grams of fiber per serving.

Fiber may also help enhance fullness and scale back levels of cholesterol, amongst different advantages (29).

Since many cereals lack protein, embody a protein supply to create a extra satisfying, balanced meal. Think about including Greek yogurt, nuts, or peanut butter.

Nevertheless, the most suitable choice for a nutrient-rich breakfast is entire, unprocessed meals, reminiscent of oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, or eggs.


It’s finest to pick cereals which are low in sugar and excessive in fiber — or just eat entire, unprocessed meals as a substitute.

Fortified cereals are generally eaten for breakfast and should assist stop sure nutrient deficiencies.

Nevertheless, many have deceptive claims and are loaded with sugar and refined carbs.

Fortification alone doesn’t essentially make cereal wholesome. For a nutritious breakfast, you’re higher off consuming entire, unprocessed meals like eggs or oatmeal.

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