When you scan the Nutrition Facts label for calories, always check the serving size. With cereal, a serving could be anywhere from ¼ cup to 1¼ cups. That’s because lighter cereals use a 1 oz. (30-gram) serving, while heavier cereals use 2 oz. (55 grams).
Most lighter cereals range from 100 calories per cup (think Cheerios or corn flakes) to about 150 calories (Honey Nut Cheerios or Special K Protein). Most heavier cereals (like raisin bran or shredded wheat) hover around 200 calories.
But watch out: granolas, mueslis, and some other heavy cereals like Post Grape-Nuts can hit 350 to 600 calories per cup. Granted, you may eat less than that, but how much less? Check for yourself.
To make matters worse, some brands—like Bear Naked and Nature’s Path Organic—cheat by using a 1 oz. (¼-cup) serving on granolas that come in a resealable bag. Their excuse: 1 oz. is the serving for a snack. How convenient.
Other relevant links:
- Be aware of the serving size of your cereal. See: Calories in Food: Should You Avoid Dense Cereals?
- Can eating cereal really reduce your risk of heart disease? See: Heart and Disease: Decoding the Heart Claims on Cereal Boxes
- Adding processed fiber to foods may just be a marketing gimmick. See: How to Diet: Is Adding Processed Fiber to Foods Beneficial?