Updated 09 April 2016

How nutritious is your breakfast cereal?

With so many cereal packs on the shelves, it might be hard to know which to choose from. DietDoc zooms in on the nutritional value of six of South Africa's favourite instant cereal brands.

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, right? Well, not if you're eating the wrong thing for breakfast.

What makes for a good breakfast cereal? Click here to see which of SA's favourite cereals came out tops, and which came out worst then read the analysis below. 

A good breakfast should have the following:

- low price

- low in GI and GL

- high energy content

- high nutritive value (protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, especially iron)

- low sodium

Too many South Africans find themselves in a position where they have breakfast on the run and don't have the time to check the label and consider the nutritional value of what they're eating.

Health24's DietDoc has made this a bit easier. She's analysed the numbers of six commonly consumed cereals and scored them in terms of their nutritional value and price (the selected cereals cost roughly less than R5 per serving).

There is also a chart at the end of this article that explains how she reached the score for each cereal. Tiger Brands Jungle Oatso Easy in original flavour came out tops, while Kellogg's' Coco Pops came out worst. 

Important information regarding pricing:

Prices were based on a snap survey of cereal prices that were analysed at a supermarket located in the capital city of South Africa. The supermarket in question was selected as it was voted ‘Supermarket of the Year in 2014' in the Sunday Times' Top Brands Competition and is regarded as a generally economical option.

Prices may vary from day to day and region to region. For the purpose of this survey the prices represent prices of all the products on a given day in the same supermarket.

Canny buyers will of course shop around for bargains, which may change a score by 1 point, but will not alter the scores for nutritive value or GI/GL.

The nutritional value of 6 of South Africa's most popular instant breakfast cereals.

Nutritional values table for Jungle Oats

 Nutritional values table for Kellogg's Corn Flake

 Nutritional values table for Kellogg's All Bran

 Nutritional values table for Kellogg's Coco Pops

 Nutritional values table for Weetbix

 Nutritional values table for Ace

How these scores were reached

Cereals were awarded points for the following nutrients:

- Points awarded for added vitamins in view of the fact that the diet of the population in SA is deficient in micronutrients.

- Points awarded for added iron as this is the one mineral that is most often deficient young children and women of child bearing age.

- Points awarded for added folic acid because it promotes the production of haemoglobin.

Cereals were scored negative for the following:

table showing cereal scores

Detailed score-sheet for cereal


Read more:

Is your breakfast healthy?

Kickstart your day with breakfast

Protein breakfast cuts cravings

Ready, set, breakfast!

References and notes:

- Prices determined in a local Gauteng supermarket on 12 April 2015.

Nutritive values obtained from labels or product websites.

- GI- & GL-values obtained from The SA Glycemic Index & Load Guide by Gabi Steenkamp & Liesbet Delport, GIFSA Publication, 2007.

- Energy, protein, total and saturated fat, dietary fibre, sodium contents evaluated according to the specifications of South African Labelling Regulations, No. R. 146. Regulations Relating to the Labelling & Advertising of Foodstuffs. Foodstuffs, Cosmetic & Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972). Published on 1 March 2010, by Department of Health, Government Gazette, Pretoria.

- Sugar content evaluated in terms of 1 teaspoon per serving or 5 g


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