25 March 2013


A friend, an earthy-crunchy friend (and I use that with great affection, being of the generally earthy-crunchy persuasion myself) recently wrote a post railing about the ingredients in a box of cereal, and the attendant false advertising that promotes cereal as healthy.

As it happens, her post appeared in my Reader[1] on a day when I'd eaten shredded wheat for breakfast. I love shredded wheat. The big biscuits, not that spoon-sized stuff. I love splitting the shards off of the big biscuits - which I usually eat one & a half of, because they come three to an inside sleeve, so one sleeve is two breakfasts if you're a little OCD. They have wonderful mouthfeel, it's fun to splinter them apart, and inexplicably, they always remind me of my grandfather, Owl.

I digress. The reason I mention the shredded wheat is because I'd been struck by the verbiage on the back of the box:

An ingredient list that is so good we have NOTHING TO HIDE.

Indeed, the only thing on the Post shredded wheat ingredient list is whole grain wheat.

But by declaiming so boldly that this box of cereal has nothing to hide, do they not tar every other box of cereal in their line up? Take Waffle Crisps: the first ingredient is sugar[2]. Or Fruity Pebbles: the second ingredient is sugar, and they're laced with artificial colors[3]. These cereals do indeed have things to hide, like sugar and hydrogenated oils and artificial colors and artificial flavors and purportedly "natural" flavors that were probably fabricated in a plant hard along the New Jersey Turnpike.

Eat real food, people. Pick your cereals with care, and step away from the Fruity Pebbles.

1. Dear Google, I hate you.

2. Waffle Crisps: Sugar, Wheat Flour, Corn Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Turmeric (Color). Bht Added To Packaging Material To Preserve Product Freshness

3. Fruity Pebbles: Rice, Sugar, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut And Palm Kernel Oils), Salt, Contains Less Than 0.5% Of Natural And Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 6, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Blue 1, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Bha (To Help Protect Flavor).


ozma said...

Oy. We do not eat the fruity pebbles but I bought my kid Cocoa Pebbles to eat on her birthday.

Damn, fruity pebbles can be good.

Now that my child decided to never eat breakfast I almost understand why Fruity Pebbles exists though.

She used to love Cheerios, which aren't too horrible, nutritionally speaking. But alas, she takes after me and will soon be sucking down nothing but coffee in the AM on her way to school. (Not that I'd let her--but I discovered Folger's crystals in 7th grade and it was all downhill from there.)

And no, I only ate the cheapest cereal in existence--puffed wheat. That was it, as far as my mother was concerned.

ozma said...

Oh wait--I forgot! I discovered a not horrible but not super nutritious cereal she will eat sometimes--Rice Chex!

I had her on plain oatmeal for the longest but she rarely conforms to my plans for a correctly crunchy existence.

jo(e) said...

When I was a kid and I'd beg my mother to buy the cereals that I liked, she'd make me read the ingredients aloud. Almost always, the first ingredient was sugar.

Stimey said...

How do you make something with just wheat? Wouldn't there need to be, I don't know, something to hold it together and make it square?

Obviously I am not a cook. It may, however, be time to stop buying anything that comes in a box, a bag, or a jar. Ick.

Janet said...

jo(e) - smart mom!

Jocelyn said...

I like the rules of thumb about not eating things containing ingredients you can't pronounce...and not eating things your grandma or great-grandma wouldn't recognize.

I actually expected you to reveal, to your dismay, that Shredded Wheat had all kinds of junk in it. Whew!

S said...

Now I feel like buying some shredded wheat.

Wrath Of Mom said...

I remember as a kid my mom pointed out that cereal ads usually stated "part of a balaced breakfast" and would then flash a picture of a bowl of cereal with milk, a glass of milk, a glass of orange juice, two slices of brown toast and fruit. It was a really good lessen in false advertising.

I haven't eaten shredded wheat in years. Maybe I'll pick up a box tomorrow!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Yes, yes, yes to #1.

Kristen said...

I made the mistake of reading the ingredient list of some yogurt I picked up at Target. Oy. Usually, we're organic yogurt types,(have a vegetarian daughter who won't eat anything with gelatin.) But it was there, and I was busy, and....who needs candy when one can have yoplait?

V-Grrrl said...

I like Triscuits for the same reason.