Importance of cereals in the diet

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.

Are cereals important in the daily diet

Are cereals necessary in the diet?

Cereals constitute, together with legumes, the main source of carbohydrates. Bread, pasta, rice have been traditionally considered “enemies of the scale.” As with the legumes, they have been considered unsuitable as food for people who want to lose weight or want to be thin.

It has been shown that this thinking is wrong. Cereals contain many carbohydrates as starch. Carbohydrates are a healthy source of energy. The body converts them into glucose to be released slowly, stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Eating cereals is a good way not to feel hungry for longer and prevent the need to eat other sugary and less healthy foods.

Whole grains provide a lot of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Its importance in the diet is so great that they should represent a third of the total of food a person consumes. There is evidence that, besides being a very healthy source of energy, they prevent the occurrence of many diseases such as constipation, colon cancer or breast cancer, osteoporosis or anemia.

How to eat cereals?

The best way to eat them is to eat them whole, since in the out layer of the whole grains we can find most of the nutrients, while refined ones mainly contain starch.

We should not add extra fat when cooking cereals in order not to exceed the number of calories. By doing this, despite what has been said, bread and pasta, are two very suitable food for dieting. Fat is not inside themselves but in what we add when cooking them

Despite its benefits, we must not forget that wheat, barley, oats and rye are not suitable for people who are allergic to gluten, a type of protein within these cereals.

The best cereals to lose weight


Photo of muesli with kefir, oatmeal, walnuts and raisins

Among the major cereals that should be eaten by people who go on diets, we can point out the following:

Bread for diet

Bread has been a basic food in many cultures. Western culture has based diet on this food. Whole wheat bread provides about 215 calories per 100 g, which, although it seems a lot, it is much less that meat that offers more than 300 calories in most cases.

Furthermore, this energy is much more readily available and of longer duration. Fat content in bread is very low (about 3 g per 100 g eaten). It contains protein and fiber. In addition to satiate, fiber prevents constipation and colon cancer.

Nevertheless, bread contain phytates which inhibit absorption of minerals. Those who opt for white bread, will have half fiber, and a higher number of calories (235 per 100 g). In compensation, in the absence of phytates, they may take more advantage of calcium and iron, which will facilitate the fight against osteoporosis and anemia.

Some types of bread

Besides wheat bread, we should not forget that there are other breads made with other cereals or other techniques. Among them we have:

  • Rye bread: with similar properties to whole wheat bread. It is suitable for dieters.
  • Arabic bread: Made from white bread. With no fiber. It has more calories than the previous loaves (265 per 100 g) so it’s not very appropriate.
  • Indian bread (naan bread): also made from white bread. Butter is added. Its calorific value is much higher (336 calories per 100 g). It contains very little fiber. Not suitable for those who want a weight loss diet.
  • Focaccia: Made from white bread. With addition of olive oil and salt. It is a very caloric bread (279 calories per 100 g) that lacks fiber and minerals. Not very suitable for those who want to diet.

Pasta for the diet

Pasta, along with bread, has been traditionally discarded in weight loss diets on the grounds that it’s fattening. Nothing is further from the truth. Pasta, usually made from whole wheat flour or refined flour, provides a lot of energy for a long time. It contains very little fat and a high amount of fiber, especially whole-grain pasta that also renders vitamin B1 or thiamin.

Pizzas made with white flour have less fiber and more calories. Among pastas, we consider both pizzas and noodles or similar preparations.

Naturally, for pasta not to be fattening, we must prepare it without added fats such as butter, cream or very-fat cheeses in the case of pizza or meat in the case of noodles.

Pizzas for diet

The best and healthier pizzas for dieting are those made with many vegetables and a few drops of olive oil. Tomatoes, onions, garlic and mushrooms should be the main ingredients.

They are all very digestive foods with few calories and a lot of medicinal properties. Adding herbs and spices make them even easier to assimilate and give them better flavor. Of all the pizza sauces, we recommend you the “Neapolitan” one, made with garlic, onions, tomatoes and Olive oil

. Very famous is the “pesto sauce” but it is not very suitable for dieting, because it contains cheese, which has many more calories.

Noodles for diet

Noodles properties are similar to other pasta preparations we’ve seen so far. One should be used to eat whole noodles.

ou can prepare many dishes with this food: soups, salads, etc.

It is best to combine them with vegetal foods instead of too much meat, which would increase their calorific value.

Oats for diet

Oats have a high content of two types of fiber: insoluble fiber well suited to facilitate intestinal transit and prevent constipation; and soluble fiber. In addition to vitamins of group B, they contain minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, silica, iodine and phosphorus. They are very rich in proteins and carbohydrates that satiate the appetite, reason why they are ideal in slimming diets. (More information about oats)

Corn for diet

Corn has very little fat, high protein and carbohydrates. It is rich in potassium, phosphorus and folate. Besides being useful in slimming diets, folate, may counteract homocysteine to prevent it to deteriorate the walls of the arteries.

So, the consumption of this cereal prevents cardiovascular diseases. Folic acid also reduces the chances that the fetus may develop spina bifida. Its richness in fiber helps prevent colon cancer.

Corn flakes combine well with skimmed milk and are an ideal breakfast not to be hungry for a long time and to avoid eating some greasy food or some candy. Sweet corn can be added to salads.

More information about the cereal diet.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

26 April, 2019

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