More to explore You may have thought that the manufacturer added some extract from spinach or liver, but the actual ingredient may surprise you. No, because it doesn't contain enough iron for the magnetism to overpower gravity pulling the weight of all that cereal down. In fact, cereal products make up a whopping 45 per cent of our average daily iron intake. From National Science Education Standards: Properties of Earth materials. Blend the cereal for at least one minute. Up to this point, everything we’ve seen is good evidence that there is iron in the cereal, but we have not seen the actual iron. Will you be able to pick up your box of breakfast cereal just by magnetic force alone? •    Examine the magnet's surface—were you able to collect more iron? A reddish mineral in the ground, iron is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your body. Dr. Paul Whittaker and colleagues from the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in Washington, DC compared nutrition information from the labels of 26 ready-to-eat cereals and three hot cereals with the actual amounts of iron and folate the cereals contained, as determined by chemical analysis. A large, sealable transparent food bag (a zip-lock style bag is ideal) 4. Look for black fuzz God designed our bodies to absorb and use iron in amazing ways! Have you ever read the ingredients list on a box of cereal and wondered why iron is in there? Iron is a mineral that our bodies need to survive and grow, although too much iron can be harmful. You can perform an experiment to see iron in your food.2 You will need an adult to help. Compare your findings with the nutrition facts labels on the boxes. Cover the cereal with hot water and let it soak for five minutes. What are the nutritional ingredients in a … Iron in Cereal continued 2 21 linn Sientifi In ll its esere Disposal The water and milk may be rinsed down the drain. Our bodies can't produce iron, but it's naturally present in many foods, including meats (beef, pork, turkey), produce (raisins, spinach, prunes) and nuts (walnuts, cashews, peanuts). The range of actual iron was from 80 to 190 percent of the listed value 2. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. If you are not sure how much iron your cereal has, check the label to see. Breakfast Cereal.”, [Editor’s Note: Adapted from an article by Joe Francis, “Experiment—Iron: Toxin on the Table,” Answers, April–June 2013.]. Share your iron extraction observations and results! If hot cereal is more your style, you’ll wind up … Are you age 13 or older? It might seem strange to compare a bowl of cornflakes to a pile of dirt. Cleanup Let the cereal stand until it gets soggy. Try downloading another browser like Chrome or Firefox. © 2021 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. •    Extra: try this activity with different types of cereals and see whether you collect more or less iron. Take a handful of iron fortified cereal in your hand and crush it well. The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker, ages 9–12, Up next… Find Magnetic North with a Homemade Compass, What you'll need Sure that cereal box looks great, bu… Breakfast cereals that have 25 percent of the daily value offer 4.5 milligrams of iron in a serving. 1 One contained nearly 200 … "Recycling Could Replace Mining for U.S. Iron Supply" from Scientific American Iron also plays an important role in our bodies. •    White piece of paper As you sit down with your breakfast cereal to get ready for school or work, check out the box. I belive the compound is iron sulfate which is a … Gently rinse the magnet and wipe it on a paper towel. It's also the most frequently used metal on the planet; it makes up most of steel, which is a mixture of iron and other ingredients. Aidan has been studying the nutrients our bodies need in his science book – Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology from Apologia. How nutritious is your cereal? Results, which were published in the June 2001 issue of “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” found that of 29 fortified cereal studied, 21 contained 120 percent or more of the stated iron amounts and eight contained 150 percent of the dose listed. But when you crush the cereal down, it helps to free up the iron particles, so they can be picked up by the magnet (dissolving the other parts of the cereal frees up the iron even more). This will turn off kids mode. Get full nutrition facts for Special K Original Cereal, Cereal and plan your meals using our online calorie counter and nutrition facts finder. Record the mass in milligrams (mg) in a data table. •    Gently insert the magnet into the bag (if your magnet has a handle, carefully move it around without spilling the liquid; if your magnet does not have a handle, you can drop it in the bag and reseal it). I would suggest keeping count of your intake per day to make sure you are not going over your goal iron intake. Pour at least one cup of cereal into a blender. •    Carefully seal the bag and gently swish the liquid around until the cereal powder has dissolved. • 2-3 flake-type cereals, one of which is fortified with 100% DV (Daily Value) of iron, the other one or two with lesser percentages of iron • Several magnets • Several plastic or paper bowls •    Sheet of blank paper •    Magnet (as strong as possible) Preparation Does a bowl of cereal really contain visible amounts of iron? However, the "reduced iron" they add is in the form of IRON FILINGS! of iron and do a comparison, visit www.sciencebuddies.org and search for “Mag-nificent This type of iron is less easily absorbed by the body and will require careful planning to get enough iron for your baby. •    Round cork from a bottle Add enough water to completely cover the cereal. What is iron, and why is it in cereal? •    Magnet Pour out the water and cereal mixture, being careful not to lose any magnets down the drain. Impress young scientists with this simple experiment to extract the iron (yes, real iron filings) out of a fortified breakfast cereal such as Total! •    Bowl and spoon (or mortar and pestle) Non-heme iron can be found in plants and iron-fortified alert icon products. •    Plastic bowl or wide plastic cup •    Pour out one serving of iron-fortified dry cereal into the bowl (or the mortar if you have one). (Iron sinks.) Even though iron only makes up less than 5 percent of the mass on Earth, it is found in a lot of places: rocks, cereal—and even in your blood! Is the magnet picking up any black particles? Next you will need to divide the weight of the iron in milligrams by the weight of the cereal in grams so that your measurement of iron will be in MG of iron PER GRAM of cereal (mg/g). Iron helps the body produce red blood cells. I dont know if you will find any cereals with 0 iron but I found a few that are lower. •    Resealable zip-top bag (optional) You will see that some of the crumbled cereal is gearing upwards towards the magnet. •    Try passing the magnet over the flakes. Discover world-changing science. "A Dash of Nutrition" from Scientific American Background Not only are the mg listed but there is a chart to figure percentage which is on the back of the nutrient chart of packages. Leave a comment below or share your photos and feedback on Scientific American's Facebook page. Try this simple experiment and see for yourself! If you have ever seen rocks or dirt that have a red or orange tint to them, they most likely contain iron; iron tends to rust when it is exposed to oxygen, causing that rusty red color on old metal objects—or rocks! We have seen it attracted to and moved towards a magnet, but the iron remained embedded within the tiny particles of cereal. Most breakfast cereals are enriched with iron. Iron is a mineral that our bodies need to survive and grow, although too much iron can be harmful. It is important for good health. There are no metallic iron pieces in the cereal. What happened when you ran the magnet over the whole cereal flakes? Wheat – 3,6mg/100 (45%DV) It is one of the world’s most frequently eaten cereal grains. (If you aren't collecting any, make sure your powder is fine enough and try running the magnet through it—otherwise, you might need a stronger magnet.) As it happens, there’s not a ton of oversight in the fortification process. But we are going to find a way to remove—or "extract"—the iron from that cereal and pick it up with a magnet. Internet Explorer is no longer supported. 77 Fairly Safe Science Activities for Illustrating Bible Lessons, Bowl of cereal (such as General Mills Total cereal), Powerful magnet (cheap “super magnets” made of the metal neodymium), Joe Francis, “Experiment—Iron: Toxin on the Table,”. Are they pulled up by the magnet? It … •    Breakfast cereal that contains iron, such as fortified cornflakes (check the label to see how much iron each serving contains—the more the better!) Those are bits of iron! that remains on the magnet. Check the nutrition facts label to see how much iron each serving actually contains (keep in mind that this tabletop project might not be able to get all of the iron out of the cereal). Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, "Recycling Could Replace Mining for U.S. Iron Supply", What's in Your Wiener? •    Water (optional). Be patient. •    Crush the cereal with the back of a spoon, pestle or other firm kitchen utensil. •    Fill the bag halfway full of water (warm water works well). Iron in Cereal - Special K Original Cereal Iron in Special K Original Cereal - 45%, Cereal. Sorta hard to digest a real HUNK of iron, now isn't it! Nearly all people, irrespective of age and gender, start their day … Observations and results Procedure Different iron compounds are used in different products and the particles may be different sizes, all of which affects how "biologically available" the stuff is. (The more finely ground it is, Enjoy! Materials Iron in My Cereal? Place it on a plate and hold a super strong magnet over it. particles of iron metal (called elemental iron or reduced iron) because elemental iron is stable in storage and does not affect the cereal’s flavor. Stir the magnet through the cereal, especially at the bottom. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. No, because it doesn't contain enough iron for the magnetism to overpower gravity pulling the weight of all that cereal down. Like many metals, iron is magnetic, so if you have a strong enough magnet, you will be able to pick it up. How much iron were you able to extract from your cereal? You can get the iron your body needs by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. A cup of enriched oatmeal has almost 14 milligrams of iron or almost 80 percent of the daily value that is recommended. You cannot digest iron metal, well you could but the chlorine gas would kill you. Hope this helps. And it's so important for our bodies to have enough iron that some food makers put a dash of it in other food products—such as fortified breakfast cereal. Iron-rich Breakfast Cereals. •    Carefully pour the powder onto the white piece of paper in a thin layer. A rolling pin and clean surface The magnet is probably attracting the iron in the cereal. The soggy cereal should be placed in the trash. How Can I Know the Iron Content in Cereals? Sources of non-heme iron include: Iron-fortified infant cereals; Tofu; Beans and lentils; Dark green leafy vegetables Even though iron only makes up less than 5 percent of the mass on Earth, it is found in a lot of places: rocks, cereal—and even in your … What happened when you passed the magnet over the crushed cereal powder? (Of course it wouldn't be healthy to eat iron on its own, so stick to getting your daily dose via food and vitamins.). Iron also helps the liver to get rid of unwanted toxins from our bodies. As it is in Earth's rocks and soil, the iron in your breakfast cereal is attached to the other substances around it. But yes, when a product says "iron fortified," that often means they put iron filings into it. A variety of foods, including whole grains, contain iron 1. It is found in a part of our blood called hemoglobin, which helps our blood to carry oxygen molecules from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole, ages 4–8 They both have some of the same materials in them. What is iron, and why is it in cereal? Were you able to get more by dissolving the cereal powder in water? At about 6 months of age, an infant’s iron needs can be met through the introduction of iron-rich foods, iron-fortified cereals, or iron supplement drops. Introduction the better.). That may seem like a good thing, if it wards off iron deficiency and anaemia. Optional: Try different kinds of cereal, including one that is heavily Fact Checked. Variation of Demonstration Fill a 1-L beaker about one-third full of crushed cereal. If an infant is receiving only iron-fortified infant formula (during the time before complementary foods are given), then additional iron supplementation is not necessary. Have you ever read the ingredients list on a box of cereal and wondered why iron is in there? Kids Mode hides stuff that’s just for parents and adds some fun. Get with the program. •    How much iron did you get out of the cereal? Like maybe it should say, "iron fortified and WE MEAN IT"? 1. These are tiny shavings of iron. Read on for observations, results and more resources. Most breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals including the ever-popular iron. One of these minerals is iron. Pour blended cereal onto a plate or glass bowl. Iron, an essential mineral in your diet, helps carry oxygen from your lungs to various cells throughout your body. •    Run the magnet closely over the top of the cereal powder. Do you see a difference? Periodic table of elements interactive table from Los Alamos National Laboratory Hot Dog Ingredients Explained, The Puzzle of Pancreatic Cancer: How Steve Jobs Did Not Beat the Odds—but Nobel Winner Ralph Steinman Did. Throw away any dry cereal powder and the iron particles. •    Scissors or sharp knife (to cut the cork) What does your breakfast cereal have in common with Earth's crust? Iron helps blood transfer oxygen to different parts of the human body, which is used to provide muscles with energy. Some cereals claim to be fortified, or infused, with vitamins and minerals that help your body repair and grow. The first demonstration shows how a few flakes of cereal floating on water can be attracted by magnets and the second shows a quick way in which you can actually separate the iron from the food. You will find enriched cereals that contain from 3.6 milligrams of iron in each serving up to 18 milligrams. If you want to perform a careful experiment to measure the actual amounts "It's Elemental: Iron" element overview from the Jefferson Lab Whole grains are more nutrient-dense than refined grains because they contain the entire grain – bran, germ and endosperm. An iron-fortified breakfast cereal (make sure it’s light in colour so you can see the iron – we used a crisped rice cereal and a multigrain cereal) 2. •    Water. Iron Cereal I am sure that you have seen breakfast cereals that claimed to be enriched with iron. One study measured the actual iron content of 29 breakfast cereals, and found that 21 contained 120 percent of the label value, and 8 contained 150 percent or more. But science can help us find one of the most common elements on Earth in your cereal: iron. Now let’s see if we can separate the iron from the cereal using magnets. •    If you want to try to get more iron, carefully pour the cereal into the resealable plastic bag. Not something I’d personally panic over. 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