Granola: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, August 27, 2013

Some view granola as an all-star health food, others think it’s belly fat in a box! Here are the pros and cons surrounding this crunchy breakfast staple.

Nutrition Facts
Many granola recipes are made up of a combination of healthy and potentially not-so-healthy ingredients. A basic granola includes oats, a sweetener (like honey or sugar), oil and possibly flakes or crisps made from wheat or rice. Additional ingredients can include some combination of dried fruit, nuts and coconut. Some brands might also add a protein boost.

The average nutrition stats for a ¼-cup (4-tablespoon) serving without nuts is about 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar and 17 grams of carbohydrate. For the same portion with nuts it’s closer to 140 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Why Granola Gets A Bad Rap
Fill a basic cereal bowl with granola for breakfast and you might be scarfing down more than 600 calories! Depending on which brand you choose, a bunch of those calories may be coming from sugary sweeteners (and empty calories). On the other hand, that same high-cal breakfast may be thanks to healthier ingredients like nuts and dried fruit.

Instead of pouring an overflowing bowl, opt for mixing a ¼ cup of granola with a lower calorie cereal. Or get rid of the bowl altogether and just use a light sprinkle to add crunch to yogurt, fruit salad or pancakes.

Bottom Line: No need to give up on granola! Sensible portions are an obvious recommendation but more important, read ingredient lists and select a good-quality brand.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (10)

  1. […] View Original Article Filed Under: Articles · […]

  2. shannon says:

    I love granola. In moderation it is a healthy part of a balanced diet.

  3. MoHub says:

    Portion size is the whole issue, especially as most product ads show full-size cereal bowls filled to the brim. That means the serving shown is actually four to six servings, depending on the depth of the bowl. The only ad that shows a proper portion of granola is the Jimmy D's breakfast sandwich ad, and that's to show the cereal in a negative light.

  4. sanfranolaco says:

    Great to see granola is on the mind! It's definitely about healthy ingredients, potion control, and making sure you eat it with other healthy + natural foods. What do you look for in terms of nutrition?

  5. Chef Brian says:

    I agree that Granola is underrated. We need to be adding much more granola to our daily diets.

  6. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Healthy eating helps you avoid nutritional deficiencies and prevent a wide range of diseases. A diet that includes foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, and atherosclerosis.

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  8. Cartoons says:

    The only ad that shows a proper portion of granola is the Jimmy D's breakfast sandwich ad, and that's to show the cereal in a negative light.

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