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One of the latest diet trends circulating on TikTok is called natural cereal, originally shared by user @natures_food and since then popularized by millions of users (including the one and only Lizzo). The recipe is simple: you pour coconut water over pomegranate seeds and berries, adding ice cubes alá Lizzo if you want an extra snack, and you eat it with a spoon as a cereal.
Sounds quite nutritious to us, and Ariana Fiorita, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, agreed. Let’s also analyze why and what possible drawbacks this breakfast snack has.
Health benefits of Nature cereals
- Pomegranate berries and seeds are loaded with healthy nutrients. “Berries and pomegranates contain antioxidants, various phytonutrients, fiber, and nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C,” Fiorita told POPSUGAR. Additionally, the berries have anti-inflammatory properties – inflammation is linked to conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease – and they also support “the body’s natural detoxification system,” he said.
- These fruits have a low glycemic index. The berries in natural cereal are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes, Fiorita said, which can help you lower your cholesterol and keep you from feeling hungry shortly after eating. Low GI foods are especially good choices for people with insulin resistance or diabetes, Fiorita added.
- Coconut water contains electrolytes. Natural coconut water is packed with electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorous, Fiorita said. “It may be beneficial for replenishing fluids after extensive sweat loss,” such as after a hard workout or a lot of time in the sun, as well as preventing muscle cramps. Potassium also helps lower blood sugar. And while many sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes, natural coconut water has fewer added sugars and artificial ingredients.
- Natural cereal can help with digestion. The creator of this TikTok trend said that the natural cereal helped his digestion, and Fiorita confirmed that this can be a benefit. “Digestion is driven by adequate fiber and fluid intake,” he explained. “The berries contain fibers that can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and support general motility.” Meanwhile, coconut water has the water and electrolyte content to hydrate you, plus magnesium to “aid muscle relaxation and contraction,” Fiorita explained.
Possible disadvantages of natural cereals
Despite how nutritious natural cereal is, Fiorita said there are a couple of things you need to know before making it your new daily breakfast.
- Coconut water is high in natural sugar. If you’re a diabetic or on the low-carb, low-sugar ketogenic diet, keep in mind that the natural sugar in coconut water “can add up,” Fiorita said. A cup of coconut water with no added sugar can still contain 11 to 12 grams of natural sugar.
- If you have kidney problems, be careful not to overdo it. This high-potassium breakfast might not be a great option for people with kidney problems, Fiorita said. This is because part of the kidney’s job is to filter potassium from the blood when there is too much of it. When your kidneys cannot do that, it can lead to hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood), which can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, nausea, numbness. Sudden and severe cases can be life-threatening.
- By itself, natural cereal is not a balanced meal. While natural cereal is nutritious, it may not fill you up all morning, Fiorita said, because it lacks the key macronutrients of fat and protein. Try to complete the meal with a protein shake, eggs, tofu, or avocado toast.