Breakfast/ Low GI/ Product review

Low GI Breakfast Cereal

Choosing a low GI breakfast cereal is not always an easy task. There are so many healthy-seeming products on the ever-growing cereal aisle but on further inspection many of these are packed with sugar. Let’s have a look at how to select some tasty low GI breakfast cereals without spending a small fortune.

Basic rules when choosing a Low GI Breakfast Cereal:

  • Oats are the lowest GI grain so porridge made with whole oats is a great choice and anything with oats as the main ingredient (first on the list) is going to be a good start.
  • Sugar (or honey, syrup, etc) should be absent or at least way down the list. This rules out crunchy cluster-type cereals like Granola – even if made with oats they are packed with sugar. Looking at the ‘carbohydrate of which sugars’ I would steer clear of anything over 20g per 100g.
  • Whilst nuts and seeds will bring the GI of a cereal down, raisins, sultantas and especially dates will increase the sugar content and GI so don’t go too mad on these.
  • Flakes generally have a relatively high GI so opt for oat-based muesli or Oatibix rather than oat flakes (e.g. optivita) and All Bran rather than Bran Flakes or Sultana Bran.
  • Wholegrain and high-fibre cereals are likely to be lower in glycaemic index than the alternatives but this can’t be assumed so check out the other factors too.

Low-GI Breakfast Cereal Selection 

There are three types of breakfast cereal that I always have in and (call me strange if you like) I can never just have one cereal in the bowl, I always like a mixture of two different types!

1. Oatibix – I don’t know the actual GI value but with 97% wholegrain oats and just 3.2g sugars per 100g this has to be a good choice. I am only talking about the full-sized bisks though – the Oatibix bites and flakes contain far more sugar (14-20g per 100g!), as do Kellogs Optivita and Nestle Oats and More.

2. All Bran – The GI of All Bran is just 30 and whilst it contains a moderate 17g sugar per 100g it provides a whopping 27g fibre, which helps to bring the GI down. I couldn’t eat it on it’s own though – definitely one to mix with something a little less heavy.

3. Muesli – With so many mueslis on the market choosing the right one is a bit of a minefield. I look for oats first on the list (it’s surprising how many are predominately wheat), sugars below 15g per 100g and fibre above 7g per 100g.  This usually means selecting those with plenty of nuts and seeds but not too many raisins or dates. Oh, and I would never pay more than £3 per box – I can’t believe how much some of the gourmet ones cost for the tiniest of packets!

Here are a few Mueslis that meet the Low GI Breakfast Cereal criteria and are available in supermarkets:

  • Pertwood Organic Farm Muesli Fruit and Seeds (Approx 2.36 for 650g). This is super tasty, wheat free and has no added sugar or salt. An excellent fibre source (12.6g/100g) and 14.2g sugar per 100g
  • Dorset Cereals do a great range of different mueslis and after comparing them all I think the Simply Delicious (12g sugars, 7.4g fibre per 100g) best meets the low GI criteria. No added sugar or salt. Approx £2.62 for 850g.
  • Jordans also do a good range but the Nut and Seed Muesli seems to be by far the best option from a GI point of view (12.5g sugars and 8.6g fibre per 100g). I love the big chunks of brazil nut and have to stop myself reaching in for extras! No added salt but does contain added sugar. Approx £2.49 for 675g.

Please let us know if you have found a product that you think meets the Low GI Breakfast Cereal challenge criteria. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any supermarket-own brand candidates but rest assured I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and will keep you updated.

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    lidl muesli is brill but not sure how low gi it is.

    • Reply
      June 16, 2009 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Brenda – if you let us know the ingredients, I can check out the GI for you, people are raving about this on the internet.

    • Reply
      Michelle Bayliff
      May 1, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Lidl muesli is exactly the same as dorset cereals muesli. It is produced with the same ingredients (maybe a different combination) in the same factory, just with different packaging. I went to the dorset cereals factory as part of my A level food technology and was very surprised to learn this!

  • Reply
    Lesley A Rose
    January 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Rude Health Organic Oat Puffs 200g
    Energy 1533kj Protein 12.1g Total dietary fibre 5.8g Carbohydrate 62.2g of which sugars 3.4g Fat 7.3g of which saturates 1.5g Sodium 0.33g.
    These are very light, so the weight in your bowl is less than a regular cereal.

    Also check out Nairn’s wheat free ginger or fruit and spice oat biscuits for an oaty treat.

  • Reply
    Lesley A Rose
    January 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Also Burgen Soya and Linseed bread is a low GI if you have to have toast. I need some low GI ideas for a toat topping though.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I would like to make my own muesli: are instant oats low G.I.? Anyone have a recipe?

    • Reply
      May 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Mickey, I think i can help you with this one. A basic rule with GI is that the more processed and broken down something is the higher the GI is likely to be so instant oats have a much higher GI than traditional rolled oats.
      As for a recipe the possibilities are endless really so I would suggest that you get a large container and fill it about 2/3 full with oats (or a combination of oats and another cereal such as bran sticks or flakes) and then mix in a selection of chopped nuts (e.g. hazelnuts, brazils, flaked almonds) and dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas, apricots, apple, dates). You could also add some seeds if you like or for a tropical feel some banana chips and coconut. Just be aware that the sweeter fruits will bump up the GI (prunes, apricots and apple are much lower than raisins and dates).
      For a really tasty recipe check out Claire’s Bircher Muesli here

  • Reply
    July 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    What about Special K original?

    According to a website it is a low gi cereal with a score of 54.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2010 at 7:52 am

    This website has a really comprehensive database of GI values. It states that Australian Special K has a GI of 54 but the USA version is 69 and French 84! I’m not sure if UK Special K has been tested so I guess it could be anywhere between 54 and 84.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Grapenuts are a lovely low gi cereal!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I looked for long for a Low GI muesli and finally found a recipe. I now make my own and have had it approved by a dietician. It has GI of 4.5 per 45g and a GL of 4.8. I love and enjoy it with fat free yoghurt and low GI fruits.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve just today decided to start following a low GI plan as i’m worried about type 2 diabetes. This was a great help in planning my shop.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I am confused because Jordan’s nut and seed is 19.9g of sugar per 100g and so is high content – I always get a sugar slump after eating it, but the brazil nuts are lovely.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Rude Health no flamin raisins muesli: 3.2g sugars, 9.7g fibre.
    Sharpham Park Spelt farmhouse granola: 7.8g sugars, 9.2g fibre. All per 100g.
    Both available at Waitrose and are v tasty.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Just contacted Jordans to find out the GI on their muesli products, I was amazed to be told they don’t know.
    Needless to say I won’t be buying their products in a hurry.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Rude Health Honey Nut Granola is good. Has a far better Gi than Jordans! Per 100g it has 11g Protein, 7g Fibre and 14g Sugars (uses Honey and Date Syrup, which are MUCH healthier than the ubiquitous and extremely unhealthy corn/fructose/glucose syrup types of sugars, which many other Granolas use, including Jordans!). I spent weeks looking in every supermarket and health-food shop for the best Gi Granola or crunchy cereal, and Rude Health came out as clear winner.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    ” super fruity shredded wheat” have just tried it and I must say it’s really lovely and fruity, but would anyone know what the GI would be, a 45g of this cereal is,8.2g sugar, which seems quite high, can anyone enlighten me!!!
    many thanks

  • Reply
    January 31, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    i bought love grown foods “oat clusters toasted cereal” and it says “wheat free” does that mean there is gluten in them? i have “raisin almond coconut crunch” ……i have celica disease, can i eat these?

  • Reply
    Kay Helbert
    February 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Grape Nuts sends my sugar very high

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Is there anywhere you can buy a GI calculator? You know like a Weightwatchers one where you can pop in the values of certain ingredients and have it tell you the GI value?

  • Reply
    January 20, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    The only definite good Dorset muesli us their organic, dark green box, with half Brazil nuts. It has seeds in it too. Other varieties have tropical fruits and should be avoided

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Rude Health Muesli No Flamin Raisins – sugars 3.2g per 100g and 9.7g fibre and Rude Health Bircher Soft and Fruity – 8.2 sugar and 10.1 fibre. I bought mine at Sainsburys.

  • Reply
    Pamela Nwaka
    July 27, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Holland and Barrett Organic Muesli. Per 100 has 13 gram sugar,9 grams fibre. Jumbo oats, wheat flakes,barley, sunflower seeds,almonds and hazelnuts,sultanas. I take the sultanas out and add berries.

  • Reply
    Pamela Nwaka
    July 27, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Forgot to say 10g protein.

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