“Heart Healthy” cheerios?


Saw a commercial on TV last night for cheerios, claiming they are “heart healthy” – misleading marketing at it’s finest.
Here is the deconstruction on the ingredients from a package of Honey Nut cheerios, keeping in mind that ingredients are in descending order of proportion:

whole grain oat: this is misleading as whole grain oats used in this cereal are completely processed and therefore have been stripped of any nutritional value. Steel cut oats and old-fashioned or rolled oats are the best choices with oats as they are less processed and have nutritional value and fibre
sugar: sugar*
degermed corn meal: “degerming” the corn meal removes nutrients
modified corn starch: this is added to certain processed foods to give texture and/or thickness – contains no nutritional value
honey: sugar*
salt: flavouring
golden syrup: sugar*
calcium carbonate: the most common and least expensive calcium supplement - it can be difficult to digest and can cause gas; this adds to the “mineral enrichment” of this empty food
rice bran oil and/or high monounsaturated canola oil: inexpensive and highly processed oils that have no health benefits
trisodium phosphate: very low cost to manufacture food additive that is predominantly used as a cleaning agent
tocopherols: Vitamin E derivative, again adding to “vitamin enriched” food product
wheat starch: used as a binding agent with no nutritional value
natural almond flavour: flavouring, to give it the nutty flavour promised in the “honey nut” branding?

Marion Nestle says it the best when referring to most breakfast cereals: “…(they are) vitamin enriched desserts, but cleverly marketed with claims for health benefits…”

Interestingly, I found an article on bloomberg.com “Cheerios Cereal Isn’t So Wholesome as Package Claims”

Ref: Marion Nestle | What To Eat pg 342
*See post on “Sugar in diguise” for other hidden sugars in foods


Posted by Tracy White on September 30, 2009 | (1) comment.
children, fibre, grains, Marion Nestle.


Tracy White said:

Interesting follow-up found in The Economist Sept 26-Oct 2 2009: The Fad For Functional Foods: Artifical Success. “The over-exuberance of some marketers has also irked regulators. When Cheerios, a popular cereal brand owned by General Mills, tried earlier this year to claim on its box that it was “clinically proven to reduce cholesterol”, the (FDA) decided that it had gone too far. In closing, the article shows hope and supports the intelligence of the consumer by stating that “If the only real function behind such labels is to bolster profits, consumers and regulators will eventually see through the hype.”

October 05, 2009.

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