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posted: 5/18/2017 5:30 AM

Constable: RizzO's vs. Grandpa Rossy Crunch -- which is healthier?

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  • Video: Rizzo vs. Ross cereal showdown

  • Retired Cub David Ross takes on current Cub Anthony Rizzo in this cereal battle. Registered dietitian Audra Davey, a nutritionist with The Northwestern Medicine Weight Management Program at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, breaks it down for us.

      Retired Cub David Ross takes on current Cub Anthony Rizzo in this cereal battle. Registered dietitian Audra Davey, a nutritionist with The Northwestern Medicine Weight Management Program at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, breaks it down for us.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The nutritional labels give registered dietitian Audra Davey the skinny on RizzO's and Grandpa Rossy Crunch.

      The nutritional labels give registered dietitian Audra Davey the skinny on RizzO's and Grandpa Rossy Crunch.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A Cubs fan, registered dietitian Audra Davey doesn't let that influence her take on the nutritional value of RizzO's.

      A Cubs fan, registered dietitian Audra Davey doesn't let that influence her take on the nutritional value of RizzO's.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The taste of a breakfast cereal isn't as important as what's in the cereal, says registered dietitian Audra Davey.

      The taste of a breakfast cereal isn't as important as what's in the cereal, says registered dietitian Audra Davey.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Eggs, yogurt, fruits and vegetables make for more nutritious breakfasts than either of the cereals featuring 2016 champion Chicago Cubs, says registered dietitian Audra Davey.

      Eggs, yogurt, fruits and vegetables make for more nutritious breakfasts than either of the cereals featuring 2016 champion Chicago Cubs, says registered dietitian Audra Davey.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • In the battle of breakfast cereals, retired Cubs backup catcher David Ross goes head-to-head with All-Star first-baseman Anthony Rizzo.

      In the battle of breakfast cereals, retired Cubs backup catcher David Ross goes head-to-head with All-Star first-baseman Anthony Rizzo.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Since he announced his retirement from baseball last season, backup catcher David Ross has won a championship with the Cubs, hit a home run in his last official bat during Game 7 of the World Series, published his autobiography, had a cameo in the season finale of "Chicago Fire" and made Monday's finale of TV's "Dancing with the Stars" by somehow getting the best of Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, who registered a perfect score.

But how does Ross fare when he takes on his old teammate, Cubs All-Star Anthony Rizzo, in the battle of breakfast cereals?

Both RizzO's and Grandpa Rossy Crunch justifiably can claim a spot as the breakfast "by" champions, but not "of" champions, as neither impresses registered dietitian Audra Davey, a nutritionist with the The Northwestern Medicine Weight Management Program at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

"When I'm looking at cereal, the first thing I look at is sugar," says Davey, 34, a Cubs fan who lives in St. Charles. "The sugar content should be less than 5 grams or around 5 grams."

Strike one for Rossy!

One serving of Grandpa Rossy Crunch contains 13 grams of sugar, which is just slightly worse than the 11 grams of sugar found in a helping of RizzO's. The main ingredient in Grandpa Rossy Crunch is degermed yellow corn meal, followed by sugar. RizzO's are mostly whole oat flour, followed by sugar.

"For kids, you always want to look for added sugar," says Davey.

Protein is a key to a healthy breakfast, Davey says, noting that people whose breakfast choices include protein feel more satisfied.

Retired Cubs catcher David Ross just made the finals on TV's "Dancing with the Stars" and has a new book out. But can his cereal pass the nutrition test?
  Retired Cubs catcher David Ross just made the finals on TV's "Dancing with the Stars" and has a new book out. But can his cereal pass the nutrition test? - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Strike two for Rossy!

"The RizzO's have a little more protein. Grandpa Rossy has only 1 gram of protein, whereas RizzO's has 2 grams," Davey notes. Milk, of course, adds protein, but both cereals lag far behind the 13 grams of protein found in some high-protein cereals.

Cereals tend to be highly processed foods, so manufacturers can simply add some good stuff to the mix. RizzO's and Grandpa Rossy Crunch have added health benefits.

"Both are enriched with a decent amount of vitamins and minerals," Davey says. "But ..."

Strike three for Rossy!

"The RizzO's have more folate and calcium," Davey says, pointing to the nutritional labels that show RizzO's provide 10 percent of the recommended daily dose of calcium, while Grandpa Rossy Crunch provides no calcium, and the Rizzo cereal boasts 50 percent (compared to 25 percent for the old catcher's cereal) of the recommended daily dose of folate, an important B vitamin that helps prevent anemia and birth defects. RizzO's also has 2 grams of fiber while the Ross offering has less than 1 gram.

Does this cereal by champion Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs have what it takes to be a breakfast "of" champions?
  Does this cereal by champion Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs have what it takes to be a breakfast "of" champions? - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

"If you're going to eat cereal, I'd go with the RizzO's over Grandpa," Davey concludes.

But there is a caveat. RizzO's has more sodium and fat, and contains almonds and wheat, which can cause problems for people with nut allergies or gluten-free diets.

Davey, who played basketball and tennis and participated in track and field events during her years at Sycamore High School, says many breakfast options are heavy on carbohydrates and light on protein. The only time she loads up on carbohydrates is when she is running a half-marathon or a 10K race, and her favorite source is Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, which has a similar carbohydrates level as the Cubs players' cereals.

People sitting in a classroom or cubicle need to start the day with more protein, whole grains and fiber, instead of carbohydrates, sugar and sodium, nutritionists say.

"Instead of eating three bowls of cereal, have one bowl of cereal and a couple eggs with veggies," says Davey, who suggests berries, cottage cheese, yogurt, spinach, peppers, tomatoes and onions as good options. "We could make both these breakfasts (RizzO's and Grandpa Rossy Crunch) a home-run breakfast just by adding some protein content."

Working at the hospital with people dedicated to losing weight, Davey advises patients to keep track of everything they eat, and seek advice from a registered dietitian instead of relying on those online posts suggesting that some foods are evil and others are perfect.

"You have to be really committed to make those changes," Davey says. "And then, of course, exercise. You've got to move. You've got to break a sweat."

You can do that by stopping at the gym on the way home from work, legging out a double after bouncing a ball off the ivy-covered bricks at Wrigley Field or dancing a fox trot to "You Make Me Feel So Young" on TV.

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