Monday, April 16, 2012
A while back, I decided to get one of those high-fiber bran cereals because, well, I drink an AWFUL lot of water, and... I thought I needed more fiber in my diet for my digestive system's sake. :) I don't know that it made much difference, but I had bought some Fiber One, really liked the taste, and REALLY liked the low calories-per-serving number.
At the same time, however, I had concerns about Fiber One, because I knew from reading the ingredients label that it contains a number of extras that I'm not entirely thrilled with, including aspartame. So I researched bran cereals recently, and decided to look for alternatives at the grocery store. I am starting with Kellogg's All-Bran, since it seems to be the closest cousin to Fiber One (being a similar kind of "bran twig" cereal).
Here's what I've found, in case anyone's interested in trying a high fiber bran cereal.
Fiber One is sweeter and has a milder bran taste, while All-Bran tastes very "bran-y," to fake up a word. I think they both taste great, but I love the wholesome bran flavor of All-Bran, as well as the rougher texture (though it softens quickly in milk - another plus for me, because I have brittle teeth and I get nervous when eating crunchy food). I have to give my personal preference to All-Bran on taste.
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT per half-cup serving:
The two are identical in fat (1g), cholesterol (0), Vitamin C (10%), Calcium (10%), Iron (25%), Thiamin (25%), Riboflavin (25%), and Niacin (25%).
Fiber One has fewer calories (60 vs. 80), less sugar (0 vs. 6g), and more fiber (14g vs. 10g). However, it also has more sodium (105mg vs. 80mg), less potassium (100mg vs. 350mg), and less protein (2g vs. 4g). Plus it has less Vitamin A (0 vs. 10%), Vitamin D (0 vs. 10%), B6 (25 vs. 100%), Folic Acid (25% vs. 100%), B12 (25 vs. 100%), Phosphorus (6 vs. 35%), Magnesium (4 vs. 25%), and Copper (0 vs. 10%). It does have more zinc (25 vs. 10%).
I guess it depends on the rest of your diet and whether you take a multi-vitamin as to whether you care about the vitamin/mineral fortification, but I think I still have to give the edge to All-Bran on the nutritional content that I'm particularly interested in. I know it has a fair amount of sugar, but it IS also high in fiber. The higher calorie count is okay with me since it's not *that* much more. And I always appreciate less sodium, and my nutrition tracker always tells me I'm not getting enough potassium. Fiber One looks fine nutritionally, but All-Bran aligns a little bit better with my own nutritional goals.
This is where I have my primary concerns about Fiber One. Its ingredients are as follows: Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Bran, Modified Wheat Starch, Guar Gum, Color Added, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Baking Soda, Aspartame.
There's a lot of ingredients in there that I don't totally understand, even after a little research. How does corn bran compare nutritionally to wheat bran? Plus, "color added" weirds me out because it's so vague. What kind of coloring? And why even bother? It's just cereal; who cares what color it is? And while I don't ban fake sugars entirely (I have a bag of Splenda I bake with very occasionally), I don't really want to eat them several times a week.
Here's All-Bran's ingredients:
Wheat bran, sugar, malt flavoring, contains 2% or less of salt.
That's all much more recognizable to me. Straight-up sweetened wheat bran. I wish it weren't quite so sweetened, but I think I'll still buy All-Bran more often than I would Fiber One.
I know there are cereals made with bran flakes and bran buds, so I'll have to check those out when I finish my box of All-Bran Original! I know this is kind of a dry and boring blog entry, but it's what I spent my breakfast time thinking about, so I figured I'd share because maybe some of you have suggestions for good bran cereals that aren't too high in calories but aren't packed full of super-processed ingredients. :)