Shredded wheat is very different from most cereals. While most cereals are loaded with sugar and processed grains, most brands of shredded wheat have just one ingredient: Whole wheat. That sounds pretty healthy. But is it really?
Shredded wheat is made of healthy whole-grain wheat, and it has the same amount of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber as Cheerios. Shredded wheat is also free of added sugar and salt. However, it is usually not fortified, so it is lower in some vitamins and minerals compared to some other cereals.
Below, we’ll explore the details of shredded wheat’s nutrition benefits. We’ll look at its glycemic index, whether it’s good for weight loss and heart health, and more. I’ll end by comparing shredded wheat to Weetabix and oatmeal to see which is truly best.
Is Shredded Wheat Good for You?
Here are the 12 specific questions I’ll be answering about shredded wheat nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Is Shredded Wheat Made Of?
- Is Shredded Wheat Low in Sugar?
- Is Shredded Wheat Low Glycemic?
- Is Shredded Wheat High in Fiber?
- Is Shredded Wheat High in Iron?
- Is Shredded Wheat a Processed Food?
- Is Shredded Wheat Good For Weight Loss?
- Is Shredded Wheat Good for Your Heart?
- Is Shredded Wheat Healthier Than Weetabix?
- Is Shredded Wheat Healthier Than Oatmeal?
- Is It Ok to Eat Shredded Wheat Every Day?
- Is Shredded Wheat Vegan?
1. What Is Shredded Wheat Made Of?
Shredded wheat is made by many brands, as it is not a trademarked product. However, the ingredients are mostly the same. In the U.S., the most popular brand is Post, so we’ll be looking at that one.
Post Shredded Wheat Ingredients: Whole grain wheat. To preserve the natural wheat flavor, BHT is added to the packaging material.
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Shredded wheat is made with whole grain wheat. In fact, the cereal is basically 100% whole grain wheat. This makes it much higher in fiber than most breakfast cereals, which comes with many health benefits. More on the fiber content below.
- Shredded wheat is free of added sugar. This is very uncommon for cereal nowadays. Even relatively healthy cereals like Cheerios and Weetabix have some sugar—but not shredded wheat. Does this make shredded wheat a low-glycemic food? We’ll cover that below.
- Shredded wheat is free of artificial sweeteners or colors. Shredded wheat has very simple ingredients—just whole wheat, really. There are no controversial artificial ingredients like sucralose or red 40.
- Shredded wheat is not fortified with vitamins or minerals. At least the Post brand isn’t (it could vary by brand). But this is fine, as fortified foods are not the best way to get all your vitamins and minerals anyway. If you want more vitamins, add some fruit to your shredded wheat.
- Post Shredded wheat has BHT. BHT is a preservative, sometimes negatively associated with BHA, which can have cancer-causing effects at high levels. But the research is more reassuring for BHT than for BHA. And in fact, BHT may be anti-carcinogenic at low levels. So this ingredient should not be a concern.
Overall, shredded wheat ingredients are very simple. It’s basically just whole wheat. You can’t get much “cleaner” than that.
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2. Is Shredded Wheat Low in Sugar?
Most brands of shredded wheat cereal do not have any sugar, including Post and Nestle Shredded Wheat. However, Kashi Autumn Wheat has 1g of added sugar per serving, and Frosted Mini-Wheats have 12g of added sugar per serving. Frosted Mini-Wheats are not low in sugar.
Overall, plain shredded wheat is usually sugar-free. Just be careful what exactly you’re dealing with, as the frosted shredded wheat cereals can actually be high in sugar.
But there’s something else to consider when thinking about sugar content, too: Glycemic index (GI).
If you’re concerned about your blood-sugar levels, it’s important to remember that carbs get broken down into sugars in your body, too. And quick-digesting carbs can spike your blood sugar, too, even if they’re not “sugar.”
So let’s look at the glycemic index of shredded wheat next.
3. Is Shredded Wheat Low Glycemic?
Shredded wheat generally scores “medium” on the glycemic index when eaten alone. However, when eaten with low-fat milk, it may be a low-glycemic food. The carbs in shredded wheat are digested somewhat slowly due to the high fiber content.
The issue of how milk affects the glycemic index of cereal is quite interesting. It was actually the source of some controversy with Weetabix cereal in the past..
In 2012, Weetabix was slammed by an advertising watchdog for making a misleading claim about the product’s “slowly released energy.”
In their defense, Weetabix cited a study in which their cereal scored 47 on the glycemic index when eaten with semi-skimmed milk. (Any score below 55 is “low.”) However, if you eat Weetabix by itself, it scores “medium” on the glycemic index. (source)
Of course, most people do not eat Weetabix (or shredded wheat) dry. Both cereals are almost always eaten with milk. So in practice, they could be low glycemic or medium glycemic for you, potentially depending on the choice of milk. (source)
It should be noted: Glycemic index scores for foods often vary from study to study—and interestingly, from person to person. So I wouldn’t put a ton of stock in the precise numbers cited in GI studies.
If blood-sugar control is important to you, then you may want to be a bit cautious with shredded wheat. On the positive side, it’s a high-fiber food made with whole grain. But it’s processed into thin shreds that can be digested more quickly than in-tact grains.
As explained in the “Whole Grain Hierarchy” video by Brenda Davis, RDN, “shredded” whole grain cereals may not be quite as healthy and low-GI as in-tact whole grains.
- Is shredded wheat high in carbs? Yes, most of the calories in shredded wheat come from carbs. Post Shredded Wheat has 40g of total carbohydrates per serving. Shredded wheat is not low-carb or keto-friendly. That said, shredded wheat is typically free of sugar and other refined carbs—it’s just 100% whole wheat.
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4. Is Shredded Wheat High in Fiber?
Shredded wheat is relatively high in fiber, with about 13 grams of fiber per 100 grams of cereal. That is over five times as much fiber as Corn Flakes, or 13 times as much fiber as Rice Krispies. Shredded wheat even has more fiber than Weetabix and Grape Nuts.
Here is a table showing how shredded wheat compares to several other popular cereals for fiber content:
|Cereal||Fiber per 100g|
As you can see, shredded wheat is by no means the highest-fiber cereal… But it’s definitely a high-fiber choice, thanks to being made from 100% whole grain wheat.
- Is shredded wheat good for constipation? Shredded wheat is a good source of fiber, which can help relieve constipation. However, shredded wheat is not as “heavy duty” as ultra high-fiber cereals that specialize in this purpose. Shredded wheat has nowhere near as much fiber as the cereal named “Poop Like a Champion,” for example.
5. Is Shredded Wheat High in Iron?
Post Shredded Wheat is not fortified with iron, but it still has 2.1mg of iron per serving. That is about 10% of the daily value of iron for an adult eating a 2,000 calorie diet. Other whole-grain cereals, such as Weetabix and Grape Nuts, have more iron because they are fortified with added iron.
If you need to improve your iron intake, I have a special tip for you: Eat vitamin C at the same meal as your high-iron foods. Vitamin C is shown to improve absorption of non-heme iron when eaten together.
So, have some fruit with your shredded wheat (or whichever cereal you choose)! Here’s a list of high vitamin-C fruits.
6. Is Shredded Wheat a Processed Food?
“Processed food” is a bit hard to define. Technically speaking, you could say that slicing up an apple in your kitchen counts as “processing.” But when we talk about “processed food,” we usually mean something else.
In practical terms, the major signs of processed food are when the ingredients include some of the following:
- refined grains or flour
- vegetable oil
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- artificial sweeteners
- artificial colors (like red 40)
Shredded wheat cereal does not have any of these highly processed ingredients. Many brands of shredded wheat just have one ingredient: 100% whole wheat. In that sense, shredded wheat is not really a processed food.
However, there a couple more things to address. First, Post Shredded Wheat has a preservative called BHT in the packaging. Certainly, BHT is an ingredient commonly associated with processed, packaged food.
To me, the research on BHT does not look that concerning—it seems fine—but some people may want to research it more or avoid it.
Secondly, just because plain shredded wheat is minimally processed, that doesn’t mean the same applies to Frosted Mini-Wheats. Frosted shredded wheat typically has a lot of added sugar, which makes it much more of processed food.
- Is Shredded Wheat considered whole-grain? Yes, shredded wheat cereal is a whole grain.
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7. Is Shredded Wheat Good For Weight Loss?
Shredded wheat is a good food to include in a weight loss diet. It is high in fiber, which helps you feel satisfied and stay full. It does not have any added sugar, oil, or other processed ingredients that most other popular cereals have.
Weight loss depends on your overall diet and lifestyle. However, choosing whole-grain foods like shredded wheat can help you feel satisfied on fewer calories, making it easier to lose weight.
You can also aid your weight loss journey with your choice of milk. Did you know that unsweetened almond milk is only about 30 calories per cup? That’s only ~25% of the calories of 2% cow’s milk!
In the end, as long as you’re burning more calories than you’re eating each day/week overall, you should lose weight—whether those calories include some shredded wheat or not. But surely, shredded wheat can fit right into a smart weight-loss plan.
For more help with weight loss, check out this post with 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
- Is shredded wheat good for losing belly fat? Specific foods cannot help you lose fat from a specific area of your body—that is a myth. Fat loss is a total body process, and it depends on your overall diet and lifestyle—not one food you eat. For more information, read my post on how to get six-pack abs.
8. Is Shredded Wheat Good for Your Heart?
Shredded wheat is generally considered good for heart health. Shredded wheat has no saturated fat, trans fat, dietary cholesterol, or sodium. Shredded wheat also contains soluble fiber, which can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
First off, shredded wheat has no dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol only comes from animal products like meat and eggs. So, plant-based foods (like 100% whole wheat cereals, including shredded wheat) do not have cholesterol.
But dietary cholesterol is not the only thing that’s relevant here. Eating saturated fat has also been shown to raise LDL cholesterol, potentially increasing heart disease risk. So, does shredded wheat have any saturated fat?
Shredded wheat has 0g of saturated fat per serving. So that’s another good factor. What else about shredded wheat might affect heart health?
As noted above, shredded wheat is quite high in fiber. Post Shredded Wheat specifically has 1g of soluble fiber and 5g of insoluble fiber per serving. The American Heart Association recommends whole grains and fiber in general, but soluble fiber is extra good.
Soluble fiber can help reduce LDL cholesterol. It’s the reason why Cheerios are often promoted as “heart healthy.” But shredded wheat actually has the same amount of soluble fiber per serving as Cheerios (1 gram).
So, shredded wheat can be considered good for cholesterol, as it is free of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol, and it also contains soluble fiber.
One more factor for heart health is sodium content. Eating a high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, which is a heart disease risk factor. But shredded wheat has 0mg of sodium per serving. So shredded wheat is good for your heart in that way, too.
And indeed, apparently there was a survey of experienced physicians in which 96% said they would recommend Post Shredded Wheat for heart health.
9. Is Shredded Wheat Healthier Than Weetabix?
Shredded wheat is generally considered healthier than Weetabix. That’s because Weetabix has some added sugar and salt, while shredded wheat is just whole grain wheat. Shredded wheat also has a bit more fiber per serving than Weetabix. However, both cereals are healthy options.
What matters most may be how you prepare and eat either of these cereals. If you add a whole bunch of sugar, that could make either of them unhealthy. But if you eat them with a low-fat milk or unsweetened plant-milk, plus some fruit, then both of them are great choices.
Both cereals are high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sugar. Shredded wheat is just a bit more pure—it’s just 100% whole wheat—while Weetabix has a small amount of salt and sugar added for flavor.
10. Is Shredded Wheat Healthier Than Oatmeal?
Honestly, it’s hard to say which is healthier between shredded wheat and oatmeal. They are both great choices. Both are minimally processed whole grains, high in fiber, sugar-free, and sodium-free.
Again, what matters most may be how you choose to prepare either of these options. If you add a whole bunch of brown sugar, that could make it less healthy. If you just add some fruit, either one could be great.
Ideally, you should choose whichever one you like most, and make it into a meal that you love, so you can choose it over less-healthy options without needing to exert a ton of will-power.
Or if you love both options, then try alternating. See if they affect your energy or digestion differently. One may actually be better for you personally. And even if not, then alternating regularly could also be nutritionally beneficial for keeping more variety in your diet.
[Related post: How to Sweeten Oatmeal Without Sugar (18 Healthy Ways).]
11. Is It Ok to Eat Shredded Wheat Every Day?
There should be no problem for most people eating shredded wheat every day. It is a healthy food, and there are no ingredients that would predictably cause problems when eaten frequently.
The main exception would just be if you have an intolerance or allergy to wheat or gluten. In that case, eating shredded wheat every day would obviously not be good.
Also, you should keep room in your diet for a variety of healthy foods. If you eat too much shredded wheat—like if you eat it for every meal—you may not have enough room left for vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and other wholesome whole foods.
Another way to ensure dietary variety is to consider eating your shredded wheat in different ways. If you eat shredded wheat once or more times per day, then consider eating it with different fruits, maybe with nuts or seeds, or with other foods on the side.
12. Is Shredded Wheat Vegan?
Shredded wheat is generally considered vegan. Most brands and varieties of shredded wheat do not contain any egg, dairy, meat, animal fat, honey, or other animal by-products.
However, keep in mind that not all versions of this cereal are made in a vegan way. For example, Frosted Mini-Wheats contain gelatin, which is an animal-derived ingredient.
Also, if the cereal contains non-organic sugar, then the sugar could be processed with bone char. But again, most “shredded wheat” products don’t have added sugar. And even Kashi’s Autumn Wheat cereal has only organic sugar—so that is vegan friendly, too.
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