We got this request from Jennifer, a Facebook friend of Fooducate: “Can you guys do a breakdown of the brand…Mom’s Best Naturals – specifically the Toasted Cinnamon Squares. I am hoping to find a better choice for my kids and I who love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Thanks!!”
Sure thing Jennifer.
Here’s what the manufacturer boasts:
Made with whole grain wheat and rice for a delicious breakfast cereal.
Breakfast cereal is all we make. We use only the highest quality ingredients. There’s nothing artificial, no added saturated fat or hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup.
- 10g of whole grain per serving
- Made with whole grain wheat
- Naturally cholesterol free
- 0g trans fat per serving
Here’s what we say…
What you need to know:
Here is the ingredient list:
Whole grain wheat, evaporated milled sugar, rice flour, sunflower oil, fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, salt, tricalcium phosphate, cinnamon, soy lecithin, trisodium phosphate, annatto (for color), caramel color, natural flavor, nonfat milk.
Note that the rice is NOT whole grain, but reading “whole grain wheat and rice” one could be confused to think both are whole grain. Tricky…
So is the claim “Naturally cholesterol free”. Of course it is. Cholesterol comes from animal sources. You wouldn’t expect a Coke to state that it’s naturally cholesterol free, would you?
Lots of sugar varieties here , and they add up to 10 grams per serving (2 and a half teaspoons). That’s too much. Unfortunately, other brands are also as sweet or more. For example, Barabra’s Bakery Shredded Oats Cinnamon Crunch Cereal has 15 grams of sugar (very high). General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch has 10 grams of sugar.
Fiber is low at 1 gram, which is also a disappointment for a product boasting “10g of whole grain per serving”.
The sodium, 140mg, is medium at 6% of the daily value. You should try for less than 100mg of sodium per serving in breakfast cereals.
A serving is 130 calories which is reasonable for cereals.
Bottom line: You’re getting more sugar than cinnamon here. Not a great choice. But not as bad as kids cereals colored with fake dyes.
A few quick words about cinnamon, which in and of itself tastes great and is healthy too. A highly fragrant spice, cinnamon has been around since biblical times and was used even by Moses. The inner bark of a small evergreen tree, cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka, where 90% of the world’s supply comes from today. It’s used in many processed foods but can also be purchased in stick or powder form at most grocery stores.
Studies conducted by the USDA have shown that cinnamon may help better regulate blood-sugar levels.This could be a boon to diabetics. In tests, half a teaspoon a day lowered blood-sugar levels in patients with Type II diabetes and reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Cinnamon may also inhibit cancer cells, is anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial. It also tastes darn good sprinkled in a cup of hot coffee or tea.
What to do at the supermarket:
We haven’t found a really healthy cinnamon cereal (low sugar, high fiber). But you can make your own – choose a low sugar cereal and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.