Healthy food

10 Best Sugar-Free Cereals of 2022

Breakfast cereals are a popular, convenient meal or snack for adults and kids alike.

Yet, many cereals are far from nutritious, as they’re not only low in protein and fiber but also high in added sugar.

Notably, high added sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of several chronic illnesses, including heart disease, obesity, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (1, 2, 3).

Additionally, eating high sugar cereals can lead to increased blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Over time, these elevated levels may allow the disease to progress, as well as increase your risk of complications like heart disease (4, 5).

Nonetheless, numerous sugar-free breakfast cereals are available. Some are simply unsweetened, while others may contain sugar substitutes like stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit.

Healthline evaluated sugar-free cereals based on the following criteria:

  • Taste. We checked reviews to make sure that most customers are satisfied with the taste of these cereals.
  • Ingredient quality. We looked for products that are made with whole food ingredients — like whole grains, nuts, and seeds — and free of artificial additives or preservatives.
  • Nutrient content. The cereals on this list are completely free of added sugars. Most are completely free of sugar, but a few contain a gram or two of naturally occurring sugar per serving.
  • Suitability for diabetes or the keto diet. People with diabetes or people following the keto diet may need to watch their sugar and carb intake more closely, so we kept that in mind as we considered these cereals.
  • Vetting. The cereals on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Here are the 10 best sugar-free breakfast cereals.

Best overall

Three Wishes Grain-Free Unsweetened Cereal

Three Wishes is a cereal company started by a couple looking for a healthy cereal option for their family.

This Grain-Free Unsweetened Cereal is the best overall option due to its limited number of ingredients, pleasant toasted flavor, and nutrient content.

This grain-free cereal contains just four quality ingredients: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and salt. As a result, it’s vegan, completely sugar-free, and free of all major allergens. It’s also certified gluten-free.

Moreover, it’s high in protein and fiber, both of which are linked to benefits for blood sugar management, appetite regulation, and weight loss (6, 7, 8, 9).

One serving (35 grams) provides (10):

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams

Three Wishes offers 3 flavored options as well, each of which contains just 3 grams of sugar per serving (35 grams).

Best whole wheat

Barbara’s Shredded Wheat Cereal

Shredded wheat is a classic breakfast cereal made of crunchy wheat biscuits. While many brands are coated in added sugar, Barbara’s Shredded Wheat contains just one ingredient: whole grain wheat.

Certified by the Whole Grain Council and non-GMO verified, Barbara’s Shredded Wheat Cereal is the best whole wheat option thanks to its simple ingredient list and high fiber content.

Regular intake of whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of several diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers like colorectal cancer (11, 12, 13, 14).

Furthermore, consumers note that these biscuits don’t get soggy too quickly with milk.

A single 2-biscuit (51-gram) serving provides (15):

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 41 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Due to its relatively high carb count, this cereal is not keto-friendly, and people with diabetes may need to monitor their portion sizes, especially when combined with milk.

Best high protein

Transparent Labs UNCUT Protein Cereal

If you’re looking for a breakfast alternative to protein powder or shakes, this cereal may be a great choice. A 1-1/4 cup (60-gram) serving contains 20 grams of protein from milk protein concentrate.

The cereal comes in two flavors: Cocoa Crunch and Fruity Splash, and both flavors have excellent reviews for taste. It’s sweetened with allulose, monk fruit extract, and stevia, and the carbs in the cereal come from rice starch.

One 1-1/4 cup (60-gram) serving of the Cocoa Crunch flavor contains (16):

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Carbs: 26 grams
  • Fiber: less than 1 gram
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 20 grams

Because of its higher carb content and low fiber content, this cereal isn’t keto-friendly and may not be a good choice for some people with diabetes.

Best for people with diabetes

Catalina Crunch Cereal

Catalina Crunch cereal is a keto-friendly, sugar-free, and completely plant-based cereal.

It comes in several flavors like Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Toast, Honey Graham, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

The cereal is high in fiber and protein and sweetened with stevia extract and monk fruit.

One 1/2-cup (36-gram) serving of the Cinnamon Toast flavor provides (17):

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 11 grams

Because it’s fairly low in carbs but rich in fiber and protein, this cereal is a good choice for people with diabetes and people following a keto diet.

Best low calorie

Nature’s Path Rice Puffs Cereal

Puffed rice has been exposed to heat and steam to create a puffy, light texture and mild flavor. It’s commonly used not only in breakfast cereals but also dessert and snack bars for added crunch.

What’s more, puffed rice is often very low in calories.

Nature’s Path Rice Puffs Cereal is one of the best low calorie, sugar-free options because it’s certified organic and made only with brown rice.

Since this cereal is produced in a facility that processes wheat, it may be cross-contaminated with gluten and isn’t the best choice for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Just 1 cup (16 grams) contains (18):

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram

While low in calories, this cereal is also low in fiber and protein. Thus, it isn’t very filling on its own — though milk, soy milk, or Greek yogurt can help in this regard. You can also combine it with one of the higher protein options on this list.

Best for kids

Magic Spoon Grain-Free Cereal

Available in four flavors, Magic Spoon provides a sugar-free, low carb spin on kids’ cereals.

Made without artificial ingredients, its products are also gluten-, grain-, and soy-free. While they aren’t vegan or dairy-free due to their milk protein, they’re loaded with healthy protein.

Although many kid-friendly cereals contain artificial food dyes, all of Magic Spoon’s products use natural colorings like vegetable juice and turmeric.

They’re sweetened with a blend of sugar substitutes, including monk fruit, stevia, and allulose.

One cup (37 grams) of Magic Spoon’s Fruity flavored cereal provides (19):

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams

Magic Spoon is likewise keto-friendly. Each cup (37 grams) provides just 5 grams of net carbs — the number of digestible carbs calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber and allulose from the total number of carbs.

Best hot cereal

Nature’s Path Old Fashioned Original Rolled Oats

Oatmeal is a classic hot breakfast cereal that’s rich in important nutrients, including protein, B vitamins, and several essential minerals (20, 21).

It’s also an excellent source of beta glucan, a type of fiber linked to various health benefits, including improved gut bacteria, lower blood sugar levels, and reduced LDL (bad) and total cholesterol (22, 23, 24).

While many brands exist, Nature’s Path is one of the best because its rolled oats are certified organic and non-GMO verified. Best of all, their oats cook up into a creamy texture with a strong oat flavor.

In addition to their Old Fashioned Original Rolled Oats, Nature’s Path offers quick-cooking and steel-cut oats — all of which contain oats as the only ingredient.

One cup (230 grams) of cooked rolled oats provides (25):

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbs: 27 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

To make the amount above, use 1/2 cup (40 grams) of dry rolled oats and 1 cup (237 mL) of water.

Because of its higher carb count, this cereal isn’t keto-friendly. The fiber in oatmeal can help keep blood sugar levels stable, but people with diabetes may need to consume a smaller serving due to its carb content.

Best gluten-free

Purely Elizabeth Original Superfood Oatmeal

In addition to organic gluten-free oats, Purely Elizabeth Original Superfood Oatmeal contains a handful of other organic, nutrient-rich, and gluten-free ingredients — including quinoa flakes and puffed amaranth, as well as flax, hemp, and chia seeds.

These seeds are often deemed “super seeds” because they’re rich in fiber, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and several essential vitamins and minerals (26, 27, 28).

Ready in just 2 minutes, this hot cereal has a slight nutty flavor and creamy texture with a pleasant crunch.

Just 1 cup (230 grams) cooked provides (29):

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 3.5 grams
  • Carbs: 26 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

This hot cereal is certified organic and gluten-free, as well as non-GMO verified.

Because of its higher carb count, this cereal isn’t keto-friendly. While it’s high in nutrients and has a good amount of fiber, the high carb content also means that people with diabetes may need to consume a smaller serving.

Best keto

NuTrail Low Carb Keto Nut Granola

NuTrail makes keto-friendly granolas and baking mixes using high quality ingredients.

The Low Carb Keto Nut Granola is a delicious, sugar-free option with a flavor that resembles a nuttier Cocoa Krispies.

This granola has a limited ingredient list that contains mostly whole foods, including almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, coconut chips, and butter. It’s flavored with erythritol, monk fruit extract, and cacao powder instead of sugar.

A 1/3-cup (30-gram) serving provides (30):

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 4 grams

Note that the 1 gram of sugar is naturally occurring.

You can pair one serving of this sugar-free granola with unsweetened almond milk or eat it on its own as a snack.

Best granola

Livlo Granolo

Livlo Granolo is one of just a handful of totally sugar-free granola options. Many granolas are drizzled with honey or tossed in brown sugar to add sweetness.

However, these keto-friendly granolas contain combinations of nuts and seeds that are coated in erythritol and monk fruit extract, coconut oil, and natural flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa.

The three available flavors are Chocolate Hazelnut, Cinnamon Almond Pecan, and Frosted Blueberry.

A 1/3-cup (35-gram) serving of the Cinnamon Almond Pecan flavor contains (31):

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sugar: less than 1 gram
  • Protein: 5 grams

Since this granola is relatively low in carbs while containing protein and fiber, it’s a good choice for people with diabetes and people following a keto diet. However, the serving size — like other granolas — is small, just 1/3 of a cup (35 grams).

This cereal is also one of our choices for best low carb cereals.

When shopping for sugar-free cereal, look for products with short ingredient lists that contain mostly whole foods and are free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

It’s also important to pay attention to the serving size, as you may find that you consume more than one serving in a typical meal.

Types of cereal

What type of cereal do you prefer? There are several kinds with different flavors and textures available.

Hot cereals like oatmeal and cream of wheat are popular options, but many premade versions have added sugars. So, try to look for options that are free of added sugars and additives.

Granola is a common breakfast food that’s made from oats, nuts, seeds, oil, and a sweetener like brown sugar or maple syrup. It’s usually baked until crispy and may feature dried fruit as well.

Additionally, if you prefer a classic cold cereal in milk, there are many options listed above.

Fiber and protein

Research shows that fiber and protein promote fullness. They cause foods to digest more slowly, which gives them more staying power. This may be useful if you’re trying to lose weight or looking for a breakfast cereal that is more likely to keep you full until lunch (6, 7, 8, 9).

To help you stay full for longer, try to choose a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per 1-cup serving.

Sugar and alternative sweeteners

If you’re avoiding sugar, you’ll need to choose either an unsweetened cereal or a cereal that is sweetened with a zero-calorie sweetener.

Common zero-calorie sweeteners include sugar alcohols like erythritol or xylitol. While these sweeteners don’t provide calories or sugar, they can cause stomach upset in very large doses. So it’s best to limit foods containing these to just one serving (32, 33).

Other zero-calorie sweeteners you may see include allulose, stevia, and monk fruit extract. These sweeteners are derived from natural sources and free of calories and sugar. That said, they are still highly processed.

While these alternative sweeteners are generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more research is needed to determine their long-term effects on human health (34, 35).

Carb content

Sugar-free cereals may be good options for the low carb, high fat keto diet. Though it’s important to note that you should keep a careful eye on the carb count, as some sugar-free cereals are still high in carbs.

Finally, if you have diabetes, make sure that the total carb count fits your allocations for a meal or snack. If you eat cereal with dairy or nondairy milk, that will add to the carb content.

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