Weetabix was first launched in 1932 and despite all of the exciting chocolatey, fruity and sugary cereals out there, these wheat biscuits are still one of the most popular breakfast choices here in the UK. In fact, a recent YouGov survey showed that Weetabix is the 20th most popular food and drink brand in the UK, ahead of some real giants. So there's no denying the popularity of Weetabix, but is it actually healthy?
We'll be taking a close look at the ingredients used to make this cereal and the nutritional breakdown to try and answer this slightly tricky question. And just to be clear, we'll be referring to the original Weetabix in this article. There are lots of variations on the shelves these days, but we won't be covering any of them here. Let's get into the article:
What is Weetabix made from?
Despite how popular Weetabix is, the product itself is actually remarkably straightforward, although I suspect many people don't realise the few little extras which are included. Unsurprisingly, Wholegrain Wheat makes up 95% of the ingredients, and the rest is Malted Barley Extract, Sugar, Salt, and some added vitamins and minerals. Malted barley extract is an interesting choice because although it is used as a sweetener, it contains no fructose and is actually rather good for you.
What are the nutritional statistics of Weetabix?
We think that comparing Weetabix to other breakfast cereals is the most useful way of demonstrating how healthy Weetabix is, so that's what we'll do.
In terms of calories, Weetabix contains 362 calories per 100g. This is actually quite low compared to some of the other cereals that we've looked at previously, such as Coco Pops (which contains 382 calories per 100g) and Special K (which contains 392 calories per 100g). Interestingly though, Weetabix was higher in fat than both of these cereals, with 2g of fat per 100g. Special K only contains 1.3g of fat per 100g, and Coco Pops only contains 1.9g of fat per 100g, so its quite surprising to see that Weetabix is higher in fat than Coco Pops.
What about the supermarket own-brand versions of Weetabix?
Weetabix is such a popular breakfast cereal that it's no surprise to see so many supermarkets creating their own, cheaper versions of the popular brand. We were surprised to see that often these own-brand versions were even healthier than real Weetabix in many cases - for example, the Tesco own-brand version (pictured) contains slightly fewer calories than the real thing, but to be honest, there is a notable difference in the taste, so we'd stick with the original!
Are Weetabix good for Losing Weight?
If you're trying to lose a little bit of belly fat, Weetabix could be a good way to start the day.
They are low in sugar and fat, yet high in energy, and will keep you full for longer. The one thing to consider when trying to lose weight is how much energy you're consuming, vs the amount of energy you burn during the day. Weetabix will provide your body with lots of energy, so if you're still consuming more than you're burning, you will ultimately still gain weight.
Combine Weetabix with a little bit of exercise and that belly will disappear.
Anything else to consider?
Yes, one of the other major things to consider is that many people choose to have more than 2 Weetabix biscuits for breakfast, which drastically alters the salt, fat, and sugar intake. Just something to be aware of!
Ok, so is the original Weetabix healthy?
Well, mostly yes. Weetabix is predominately made from Wholegrain Wheat, which is rich in fibre, iron, and vitamin B6, as well as antioxidants. It has added sugar but it is a low amount, and it is also low in fat, saturated fat, and salt.
Another positive is that there are no artificial sweeteners or colours added. You've also got added vitamins and minerals such as Riboflavin and Thiamin.
So in short, the original Weetabix is pretty healthy and is certainly a much healthier option compared to many of the cereals on the supermarket shelves.