Granola; not a health food…3rd in a series of 6

Just as with other “not-so-healthy” foods like olive oil and cow’s milk, granola is synonymous with “healthy eating” for most people in the Western world. But again, when we take a closer look, we realize that “all that glitters is not gold.” Here’s what we said about granola in Chapter 10:

How could granola not be good for you?  Two clues: added sugar and too much fat content. Remember, you’re looking for an average of less than 20% of your calories from fat and you’re looking for near zero added sugar. One serving of a home-made granola cereal on contains 24 grams of sugar and a whopping 264 calories from fat—accounting for 44% of the total of 597 calories per serving.

When checking Nutrition Facts labels, divide fat calories by total calories to get % fat for the meal. Also look for the # of grams of added sugar; today almost all packaged goods have it.

While granola is nowhere near as harmful for you as cow’s milk and other dairy products, it is not a powerful health-promoting food like many other options that you might choose for your breakfast. Links to two of my favorites are shown here for your convenience; my very own “Sailors Oatmeal” at mid-morning or my all-time favorite for the first 250 calories that I put in my body each day: Eating healthy in the morning…first course is fresh fruit only.

Both of these meals are high in the 4-Leaf range of our simple scoring system. The key to vibrant health is just two words: WHOLE PLANTS, with lots of variety among the choices of greens, beans, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

To be fair, if you loaded up a small portion of your favorite granola with several hundred calories of fresh fruits, you might be able to turn it into a 2-Leaf or 3-Leaf meal. The choice is obviously yours, we’re just trying to help you establish your new eating habits at the healthiest possible level that you can maintain. Ready for #4? Cheese; not a health food…4th in a series of 6

Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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