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Are Honey Nut Cheerios Good for Weight Loss? Too Sugary or Heart Healthy?

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 24 January 2022

Honey Nut Cheerios are allegedly heart healthy per their commercials, but does the cardiovascular benefits outweigh the sugar or honey coated all over it?

The truth is, Honey Nut Cheerios is both sugary and somewhat heart healthy, but let’s dive in deeper to see if it should be used in a weight loss regimen.

Reasons Why Honey Nut Cheerios Are Good for Weight Loss

Like original Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios are a good source of fiber and iron but that just scratches the nutritional surface of this tasty cereal [1].

1 Cup of Honey Nut Cheerios
Nutrient Amount
Calories 140
Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 210 mg
Carbs 30 g
Fiber 3 g
Soluble Fiber <1 g
Added Sugar 12 g
Protein 3 g

Besides these, they also contain multiple essential vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Calcium – 10% of Daily Recommended Value (DV)
  • Phosphorus – 8% of DV
  • Magnesium – 8% of DV
  • Zinc – 20% of DV
  • Iron – 20% of DV
  • Potassium – 4% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 10% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 10% of DV
  • Vitamin B6 – 20% of DV
  • Vitamin B12 – 20% of DV
  • Vitamin D –  10% of DV

On top of this, Honey Nut Cheerios are good for weight loss and heart health for many other reasons too…

Low in Calories

One cup of Honey Nut Cheerios contains just 140 calories so you can eat 2-3 cups and it’ll only come out to a maximum of 420 calories! They’re not exactly something you can eat without thinking, like fruits or non-starchy vegetables, but they won’t throw off your weight loss goals.

Be sure not to overflow your bowl with milk and try to use skim milk or almond milk with your Cheerios if you’re trying to lose weight since half a cup will only add about 40 calories. 

Related Articles:

  1. Is almond milk good for weight loss?
  2. Are protein shakes good for weight loss?

High in Fiber

Honey Nut Cheerios are high-fiber with whole grain oats, so a cup of Honey Nut Cheerios will fulfill 10% of your daily fiber requirement, meaning if you eat a bowl for breakfast, it can carry you through to lunch without many hunger pangs.

Not only does fiber keep you full for longer, but it can also help your digestion if you have trouble using the bathroom in the morning [2]. Good digestion means your belly doesn’t bloat as much, so you look slimmer even before shedding the pounds.

 

Sweetened with Honey

The sweet taste of most cereals on the market comes solely from added and refined sugar, which adds a ton of calories since just a tablespoon of white sugar comes out to about 50 calories! High-sugar diets correlate with higher abdominal fat, and eating more than 25% of your daily calories in the form of added sugar can make people twice as likely to die from heart disease even if they aren’t overweight [3][4].

Research suggests that honey may help lower blood pressure and blood fat levels while regulating your heartbeat and preserving healthy cells, reducing your risk of heart disease [5]. 

Sugar has a nasty tendency to make you crave more sugar, so you end up eating more calories. Besides honey, this cereal also contains sugar and brown sugar syrup, totaling up to 12g of added sugars per serving, so while Honey Nut Cheerios are good for weight loss, you should still eat them in moderation.

High in Iron

Iron deficiency anemia is an overwhelmingly common problem affecting 24.8% of the world [6]. The most significant benefit of Honey Nut Cheerios is that they provide 20% of your daily iron intake in a single cup, staving off iron deficiency.

Since iron is essential for blood, low iron compels your heart to pump faster, increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes [7]. People with an iron deficiency are 24% more likely to contract heart disease, making Cheerios a good choice for heart health [8].

Why Honey Nut Cheerios Should Be Eaten in Moderation

Eating Cheerios to lose weight isn’t the worst idea, but it’s far from the best. They lack many essential nutrients, like protein.

Low in protein – A Cheerios diet is deficient in protein, which is detrimental, primarily if you work out in the morning. An adult eating a 2,000-calorie diet needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, which a diet of Cheerios can’t satisfy.

Protein is essential for muscle recovery, so be sure to eat a high-protein snack, like a couple of eggs or Greek yogurt, along with your Cheerios after a workout.

High in carbs – While low in protein, they’re also comparatively high in carbs, which can cause sudden insulin spikes and hunger pangs. Lowering carbs may reduce your appetite all by itself, facilitating weight loss [9].

Low in soluble fiber – Honey Nut Cheerios don’t have much soluble fiber, which is more heart healthy than insoluble fiber. People who eat more soluble fiber are less likely to have high cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, reducing their chances of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease [10]. So, you still need to eat fruits and vegetables to preserve your heart health.

The calories can also add up quickly, especially if you eat Cheerios in a large bowl. So, are Honey Nut Cheerios good for weight loss? Not by themselves, but you can safely incorporate Honey Nut Cheerios into a healthy, balanced diet.

Still looking for something healthier to start off your day? Go for plain Cheerios instead. 

Plain Cheerios are Better for Weight Loss and Overall Health

Can’t decide which variety of Cheerios you should go for? While Honey Nut Cheerios are good for weight loss, plain Cheerios are much healthier in the long run and won’t hinder your weight loss any more than the Honey Nut variety. Let’s compare their nutrition labels to see why [11]:

Honey Nut vs. Plain – 1 Cup
Nutrient Honey Nut Plain
Calories 140 140
Fat 2 g 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0 g 0 g
Sodium 210 mg 190 mg
Carbs 30 g 29 g
Fiber 3 g 4 g
Soluble Fiber <1 g 1 g
Added Sugar 12 g 2 g
Protein 3 g 5 g

They also contain these beneficial nutrients:

  • Calcium – 10% of Daily Recommended Value (DV)
  • Phosphorus – 10% of DV
  • Magnesium – 15% of DV
  • Zinc – 20% of DV
  • Iron – 70% of DV
  • Potassium – 6% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 10% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 10% of DV
  • Vitamin B6 – 20% of DV
  • Vitamin B12 – 20% of DV
  • Vitamin D – 10% of DV

As you can see, the original plain Cheerios have just 2g of added sugar, compared to 12g in its Honey Nut counterpart. They contain more significant amounts of essential vitamins and minerals without adding any calories, making them better for your health overall.

Plain Cheerios also fulfill 14% of your daily fiber requirement per cup compared to the 10% in Honey Nut. Not only do you put an end to sugar cravings, but you also feel fuller, so you can eat a small salad for lunch without being hungry till dinner.

Apart from that, plain Cheerios contain significantly more iron than Honey Nut Cheerios, fulfilling a whopping 70% of your daily requirement. By contrast, the Honey Nut variety completes just 20%! Since iron is essential to keep your blood pumping, this fact makes plain Cheerios much more heart-healthy.

The only other significant difference is when it comes to magnesium, which might help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels if you’re overweight or obese [12]. This benefit can reduce hunger pangs by mitigating insulin spikes, promoting weight loss.

Plain Cheerios are still not the best option on the market, however, so you might want to consider some healthier alternatives.

Healthier Alternatives to Honey Nut Cheerios

Bowl of oats and berries.

While plain Cheerios are an okay alternative to Honey Nut, you might replace them with a healthier breakfast as you get more serious about fitness and weight loss. Some options include:

1. Plain oats – Unprocessed oats are the best alternative to any cereal. They have double the fiber (8 g) and are comparatively high in protein at 13g of protein per cup, making for a balanced breakfast. You can also add fruits like bananas and berries on top for a touch of sweetness and many additional nutrients.

Whole oats also contain many antioxidants called avenanthramides which help lower blood pressure and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow [13].

Next time you go out, look for a brand of oatmeal with whole oats like Quaker Oats. Your heart will thank you for it!

Related reading: How much oatmeal should you eat a day for weight loss?

2. Cinnamon and locally sourced honey – You don’t have to eat a bland bowl of oats – add about a tablespoon of locally sourced honey to not only sweeten the deal but reduce the amount of sugar you eat. A touch of cinnamon should give your oats a tasty kick, creating a delicious meal!

3. Healthier cereals – If you can’t live without your bowl of cereal in the morning, consider some healthier brands like Special K or Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets. The Kashi cereal is very low-sugar and full of nutrients and 7g of protein, made of 7 different types of fiber-rich whole grains. 

Nature’s Path Organics Superfood and Barbara’s Shredded Wheat are a couple of other brands worth trying. They’re rich in fiber and have more protein than Cheerios, making them healthier alternatives.

The bottom line: Not only are Honey Nut Cheerios good for weight loss, but they’re also a decent choice for heart health. While you can eat Honey Nut Cheerios on a diet, they’re not the best option out there when you consider the alternatives. If you’re not a fan of oatmeal, there’s even heathier cereals for weight loss and some contain less sugar as well. 

At the end of the day, don’t feel guilty for eating cereal in the morning if the sugar and calories do not exceed your allotment.

References

[1] Cheerios. (2022). Honey Nut Cheerios | Gluten Free Oat Cereal. Cheerios. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.cheerios.com/products/honey-nut-cheerios/

[2] Harvard School of Public Health. (2022). Fiber | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/

[3] Plain, C. (2020, July 15). Excess sugar linked to dangerous heart and abdominal fat – School of Public Health – University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.sph.umn.edu/news/excess-sugar-linked-to-dangerous-heart-and-abdominal-fat/

[4] Corliss, J. (2014, February 6). Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease. Harvard Health. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

[5] Bt Hj Idrus, R., Sainik, N., Nordin, A., Saim, A. B., & Sulaiman, N. (2020). Cardioprotective Effects of Honey and Its Constituent: An Evidence-Based Review of Laboratory Studies and Clinical Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health17(10), 3613. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32455701/ 

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.