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Food Fight : Belvita Biscuits v. Cereal

School Of Nutrition Posted Sep 01, 2014 Future Fit Training


Do you usually grab an breakfast snack on your way to the office? New-style breakfast biscuits are marketed as ‘wholesome' by food manufacturers.

Food Fight : Belvita Biscuits v. Cereal

But are these snacks really as healthy as manufacturers would like us to believe?

Let’s look at some stats comparing Belvita breakfast biscuits with a traditional serving of oat cereal:

 

BELVITA MILK & CEREAL BISCUIT

OAT CEREAL

Serving size

4 Biscuits (50g)

50g porridge oats (dry weight), cooked with water, no added salt or sugar

Calories

220kcal

189.5kcal

Protein

4g

6.5g

Fat

7g

3.5g

Saturated fatty acids

1g

0.5g

Carbohydrates

34g

34.5g

Of which sugars

10g

0.5g

Fibre

2g

5g

Sodium

0.2g

trace

Vitamin E

1.8mg

0.2mg

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

0.16mg

0.25mg

Magnesium

56mg

69mg

Iron

2.1mg

2.15mg

Ingredients

Cereals 68.6% [Wheat Flour 46.2%, Wholegrain Cereals 22.4% (Wholegrain Wheat Flour 6.2%, Oat Flakes 6%, Crushed Wholegrain Buckwheat 4.4%, Wholegrain Barley Flour 2.8%, Wholegrain Rye Flour 2%, Wholegrain Spelt Flour 1%)], Sugar, Rapeseed Oil, Bulking Agent (Polydextrose).

Whole Rolled Oats

Here are some highlights:

  • Belvita biscuits are lower in protein and higher in fat than traditional oats.
  • Both contain similar amounts of carbohydrates but oats are significantly lower in sugar. Oats also contain more than twice the amount of fibre than Belvita biscuits.  
  • A glance at the label shows that Belvita biscuits do contain wholegrain cereals. However, they amount to less than a quarter of the total ingredients. Although Belvita biscuits have been fortified with vitamins E and B1, magnesium and iron, they also have added sugar, salt, bulking and raising agents, emulsifiers and flavourings.

OUR WINNER: Rolled Oats!

There is absolutely no doubt, we have to hand it to oats for their low sugar and high fibre content. Oats are rich sources of the water-soluble fibre beta-glucans. Regular consumption of beta-glucans can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels. While Belvita biscuits do contain oat flakes, this only amounts to 6%. 

Breakfast biscuits are quite high in sugar. While there are some cereals, such as Cocopops and Frosties, that contain more sugar than breakfast biscuits, other cereals such as porridge, Weetabix and even Cornflakes contain much less. And the milk in your cereal has the added benefit of providing around a third of your daily calcium needs. Belvita Milk & Cereals biscuits, despite having milk in their name, only contain around 2% of your daily calcium needs.

Starting the day with new-style breakfast biscuits could be no better for you than eating an everyday biscuit. In fact, a typical serving of Hobnobs contains similar amounts of fat, calories, sugar and fibre than their apparently healthier rivals. While biscuits are obviously more convenient than a bowl of cereal if you are on the go, a banana is just as convenient. If you want to eat a biscuit for breakfast, then go ahead.  Just don’t kid yourself that it is a healthy option!

Written by Victoria Trowse

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