Do you enjoy a hot bowl of Wheatena cereal in the morning? Ever wondered if it’s healthy? Find out.
While roaming down the aisles of your local supermarket in search of a hot breakfast cereal, you may come upon a box of Wheatena Toasted Wheat Cereal. Wheatena cereal is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around since 1879 when it was developed by a small bakery store owner. Little did he know what a hit this hot breakfast cereal would be. Wheatena is still alive and well today and continues to grace the breakfast tables of hungry people who want something fast, but prefer a hot breakfast cereal over a cold, soggy one. But, what about the health benefits of Wheatena cereal? Is it a healthful addition to the breakfast table?
What’s in Wheatena Toasted Wheat Cereal?
Wheatena is a mixture of wheat germ, wheat bran, and crushed whole wheat that’s fortified with calcium. It comes in a bright orange, yellow, and blue box and is carried at most grocery stores in the hot cereal aisle – in the same section as the oatmeal.
Wheatena is a whole grain cereal in contrast to its competitor Cream of Wheat which is processed. It’s very low in fat with a single gram in a one-third cup serving and only one-hundred-and-sixty calories. It also has five grams of fiber and protein which makes it a very filling breakfast choice especially when served with milk. Because it’s a whole grain that’s high in fiber and low in fat, it helps to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also supplies twenty percent of the daily calcium requirement and ten percent of the recommended quantity of iron daily. It only contains a small amount of sodium (around eighteen milligrams) which makes it a good choice for people with high blood pressure and anyone watching their salt intake. It’s fairly low in vitamins, but is a decent source of niacin.
Wheatena cereal is a bad choice for anyone who’s sensitive to gluten. The other issue with Wheatena, that’s also a problem with other packaged breakfast cereals that are toasted, roasted, or baked to high temperatures, is the presence of acrylamides. Acrylamide is a by-product produced when starchy foods are cooked to high temperatures. Although the final verdict isn’t out, animal studies show that acrylamides cause cancer and the FDA limits the quantity that’s allowed in drinking water for this reason. Wheatena Toasted Wheat Cereal contains a large amount of acrylamide. According to data published on Wikipedia, it has 1057 parts per billion which is concerning if you believe the studies showing it causes cancer.
The Bottom Line
Wheatena Toasted Wheat Cereal has many positive health attributes for people who aren’t sensitive to gluten or wheat products. The one drawback is the issue of the acrylamides this hot breakfast cereal contains. One way to avoid this problem and still get the benefits of eating whole grain cereal is to buy raw oatmeal or steel oats and cook them yourself at a low temperature. Since Wheatena cereal is toasted, it has significantly more acrylamides than oatmeal. You can also buy raw wheat bran and wheat germ, mix it together – essentially creating an untoasted, acrylamide free Wheatena.