Cold cereals that have 100% of the Daily Value usually contain two vitamins and two minerals. Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are the nutrients listed in the nutrition information on package labels.
Cereal companies have fortified their product with added vitamins and minerals. Cereal can be a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, but not usually the others. To fortify means, adding nutrients into a food that you would not usually find in that food, especially at those levels. Fortification does sell to the consuming public who perceives that their diet is deficient and eating a food with 100% of the Daily Value can make up that deficit.
The question you should ask yourself is: should one food supply 100% of your Daily Value for four nutrients and supply all those nutrients in one meal? For the person who eats three meals a day with a variety of foods from My Plate Food Guide (meat, milk, bread, fruits, vegetables, and fats), the answer is no. You don’t need a cereal with 100% of the Daily Value for four nutrients. However, for the person who eats one or two meals per day with few food choices or has a limited food budget, yes, a fortified cereal is a wise choice.
A government subsidized food program called WIC (women, infants, and children), allows iron-fortified cereals to be purchased with WIC coupons. The goal of the WIC program is to decrease iron deficiency anemia in the most at-risk population, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under the age of five. So iron-fortified cereals make sense for this group.
Another question you should ask yourself is: does the fortification of the cereal justify the sugar coating? On cold cereal packages, look for the sugar content listed with Total Carbohydrates. Cereals with less than eight grams of sugar (two teaspoons) are all right if they have fruit in them. Cereals without fruit should have less than four grams of sugar per serving (one teaspoon). In making cereal choices look at the whole package. Choose a cold cereal that is not sugar coated, even if they do have 100% of the Daily Value.