Whole Grain Breakfast Flake Toxins

What could be healthier than a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk? Well, the box for one.  You might be better off with just plain water every morning than cold cereal, even a whole grain version suggests research.

In a study at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, rats given cardboard cereal boxes plus water outlived rats fed the cornflakes sold inside the box.  Researchers observed that before their death the cornflake-eating rats became angry, threw fits and bit each other, ultimately dying of nervous system disorders and insulin shock.

In another study rats fed puffed grains, vitamins and water became diseased and died sooner than rats given plain water or rats given sugar and water.  Rats fed whole wheat — not puffed or flaked — lived much longer than the other groups.

The process of turning a whole grain into a flake, a puff, a nugget or an “O” is called extrusion. The American Association of Cereal Chemists have observed that the extrusion process creates new proteins not found in the original grain and that these proteins may create nervous system problems.  Extruded grains can also adversely affect blood sugar.  The high heat and mechanical process of making a puff or “O” out of a grain destroys essential fats and vitamins.

On top of creating an overly processed grain, many manufacturers spray their flakes with oils, sugars and flavors. I don’t need to explain how sugar adversely impacts health. Weight gain, fatigue, inflammation and dental decay are among them. Sprayed oils are readily oxidized, making them a great way to age your skin and organs. Synthetic vitamins are then added. Synthetic B9, or folic acid, is also toxic in a common condition where the body is unable to convert it to folate, the natural form.

Organic whole grain flakes were once my daily breakfast. It took a while before I made the connection between my cereal and feeling lightheaded and spacey around 11am, at which point I needed a second breakfast. Now that I have switched to whole milk yogurt and nuts, or eggs and veggies, my energy and mental clarity remain high well into the lunch hour. I am also several sizes smaller.

I like the contrast of cool dairy and something grainy in the morning. Call it a throwback to my Special K® and Grape-nuts® days.  If you like this kind of breakfast too, consider taking a variety of your favorite nuts and seeds (I like toasted flax seeds, raw pumpkin seeds along with a combo of raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, and/or macadamia nuts), all ground up in a coffee grinder, poured into a bowl and topped with whole milk plain yogurt. I use goat milk yogurt or kefir, but you can use regular cow. This is a hearty and filling breakfast.

One thing you might notice with this breakfast is weight loss. Two of the foods most associated with lean body weight are yogurt and nuts, and this breakfast gives you both. It also leaves out the foods most associated with weight gain: processed grains, sugar and potatoes.

Eggs offer another healthy alternative to flakes. One study found those who ate eggs for breakfast vs. bagels, showed a 65% greater loss in weight, plus more physical energy.

What is your favorite breakfast? And how does it leave you feeling during the day?


Whole Grain Breakfast Flake Toxins — 10 Comments

    • I am not a big fan of any of those cold boxed cereals. First, they are extruded, which means the grain proteins have been altered. Second, grains used in those cereals are often treated with Round-up, a toxic pesticide that speeds up seed head drying, and third, they are enriched with inferior forms of folate and B12 (for some people these can cause real health problems). If you need more fiber, grind up some flax seeds and add to yogurt or kefir. A mix of ground flax seeds plus other nuts and seeds and used as a kind of cereal with yogurt or kefir is quite tasty, one of my favorite breakfasts!

  1. Hi Linda
    Thank you for this interesting post.
    I have always soaked my flax seeds for half a day because I was told that heat would destroy the Omega 3. You mentioned about toasting flax seeds. Will it affect the nutrients?

    • If you toast on low, around 170-180F for 10 minutes, the omega’s should be fine. If you eat them often and suffer any low thyroid signs, it would be good to go through this process. You could also try lower – 160 might work, I have not tried that.

    • Quick oats are fine from time to time. They do tend to affect blood sugar more than regular. However, if you load up on butter or coconut oil, and nuts, that should be minimized. A better idea is to soak your regular oats in water overnight (or for 24 hours), then cook 5 minutes or so. Soaking makes them more digestible and also reduces phytates, which bind minerals. Add a small splash of whey from yogurt or apple cider vinegar to your soaking oats.

  2. Enjoyed reading your blog about whole grain breakfast. I have been eating a cereal that sounds a lot like what you are talking about breakfast foods.
    Interested in hearing what you think about Post Great Grains Cereal with yogurt. Is this a good match for what you recommend?

    • I have a couple of issues with this Post cereal. It contains brown sugar, regular sugar and corn syrup – making it fairly high in sugar, plus it contains vegetables oils, which are not a good addition to a processed grain as these oils can becomes oxidized (and harmful) in the processing. Also the grains in this are not organic, so likely treated with Roundup to speed harvesting. You can read my past post on this called “What’s in Your Oats?” Go with organic whole oats cooked up and add in butter and nuts.

  3. I have heard about those studies before but have been unable to find them to share with my skeptical husband. Do you have any links I could follow or titles for the journal papers on the studies?

    • Your skeptical husband might just remain so. These studies comparing animals fed cereal vs. cereal boxes or water were not published. Years ago I interviewed Paul Stitt, a well known biochemist who worked for several of the larger food processing companies before founding his own whole grain baking company. He told me some interesting stories about what is in our food, as well as about studies conducted by the cereal producers themselves. For obvious reasons they never got published. You can find out more on the Weston A. Price web site. My suggestion however is to compare how you (or your husband) feels after eating a cold boxed cereal compared to oatmeal with butter and nuts or whole milk yogurt with crushed nuts and ground flax seeds. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

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