"Whole-grain cereal is a great replacement for high-fat breakfast food or as a replacement for no breakfast at all, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day," said To, who specializes in obesity and diabetes management. "But moderation is the key. Many cereals contain ingredients that may not be very good for you, such as excessive sugar."
Also, she added, "cereals are easy to binge on. It is very important to follow the serving size suggestions."
To Vinson, the benefits of eating more cereals may outweigh the negatives.
"We always think of fruits and vegetables as the primary sources of polyphenols," he said. "But many people, especially students, don't eat enough of them. Here we have a product that is very familiar in the diet and that people like to eat. We can push kids to eat more whole grains."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on antioxidants.
SOURCE: Joe Vinson, Ph.D., University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa.; Eva To, nutritionist, White Plains, N.Y.; Aug. 18, 2009, presentation, American Chemical Society annual meeting, Washington, D.C.