Finding an Angle: Focus on Fructose…

Looks like General Mills has some new messaging they want consumers to digest:

Big G cereals deliver great taste with NO high fructose corn syrup

Actually, in the FSI, the first message was:

Great Taste


General Mills has new messages for you.

General Mills has new messages for you.

So the common denominator is “Great Taste.”

They seem to be saying you can eat early and often AND guilt-free because we don’t use bad stuff like high fructose corn syrup.

But is it really bad stuff?  Furthermore, is this message a diversion from other “bad stuff” that might be on the ingredient list for these Big G cereals?

Before you Trix, Honey Nut Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs guilt-free?

Doing a Google search, we uncovered one article  (10 Breakfast Cereals to Avoid) where and those three made the list:

5. Trix
With the “Trix are for kids” tagline, there’s no denying that the sugar-coated, colorful cereal is marketed to children as fun. And kids may be affected by these ads at a younger age that you might think. Two- to five-year-old kids saw sugary cereal ads more often (about 550 times per year) than adults (200 times per year). “The number of cereal advertisements viewed by preschoolers is disturbing. Children under age seven or eight years do not possess the cognitive abilities to understand the persuasive intent of advertising, and therefore have no ability to defend against its influence,” the Rudd Center report said.

“I’ve had many parents tell me their kids aren’t affected by ads,” says Harris, “[but] I think advertising affects kids in ways that parents don’t understand.” Trix are 38 percent sugar and 3 percent fiber, and contain red yellow and blue dyes.

4. Cocoa Puffs
This highly advertised chocolate lovers’ favorite is one of the worst when it comes to sugar, but at least there aren’t any artificial colors. And while it may be vitamin-fortified, among the cereal’s top three ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. And, as a bonus, fructose is added (we assume for good measure). Cocoa Puffs are 44 percent sugar and have 4 percent fiber.

2. Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey Nut Cheerios are among a list of cereals advertised as “better for you” than other types of breakfast items, “however, these products are all significantly worse for you than other cereals in the General Mills portfolio,” according to the Rudd Center’s report. The cereal is touted as a “great tasting way to help lower your cholesterol,” according to the brand’s website. “Bring these … along as a snack while doing the activities you love, and you can show your heart some love all day long!” the site suggests. But as you lower your cholesterol, you may be raising your blood sugar, since Honey Nut Cheerios are 32 percent sugar and 7 percent fiber.

Not looking too good.

Plus, we aren’t entirely confident about the whole “NO high fructose corn syrup” message being a good thing.  Check out what the FDA has to say about HFCS:
Is HFCS less safe than other sweeteners?

FDA receives many inquiries asking about the safety of HFCS, often referring to studies about how humans metabolize fructose or fructose-containing sweeteners. These studies are based on the observation that there are some differences between how we metabolize fructose and other simple sugars.

We are not aware of any evidence, including the studies mentioned above, that there is a difference in safety between foods containing HFCS 42 or HFCS 55 and foods containing similar amounts of other nutritive sweeteners with approximately equal glucose and fructose content, such as sucrose, honey, or other traditional sweeteners. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone limit consumption of all added sugars, including HFCS and sucrose. FDA participated in the development of the Dietary Guidelines and fully supports this recommendation.

Okay, so maybe this is just flavor of the month messaging.

Check this out.  We discovered it on the General Mills website.

Benefits of Cereal: Sugar no so bad?

Benefits of Cereal: Sugar no so bad?


Confusing, right?  Here’s our advice:  Please take a proactive approach to what you put into your body.  Claims such as those made by General Mills are intended to get you to stop, read, clip the coupon (optional), and buy.

It is our experience that your body will tell you what’s truly great for you any time of day.  Ideally, it is something that keeps your blood sugar on an even keel.

For example, we favor Joe’s O’s which gets an A- rating at Fooducate.

And the best part of Joe’s O’s is the price.  Merely $1.99 for a 15 oz package.  Doing the math, price per ounce is 13 cents.

At Wal-Mart, where cereal is very reasonably priced, Cheerios cost more than that.

Stay curious and proactive my friends!

–The Gang


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