Friday, May 24, 2013

Ode to a Cheerio, once again

About 8pm my time here in Arizona, an ad for General Mills Cheerios appeared on my FaceBook page, and it seems, a lot of other peoples.  Last December GM came up with a great propaganda gimmick for FB and had this posting that had to be taken down within a day because of the hundred thousand negative posts.  Seems someone forgot all about that.  With eleven hours on the GM helping the reading campaign for school kids, there are over 6 thousand negative comments.  over a hundred and sixty thousand like the page, but the negative stuff should start hitting it pretty soon as the country wakes up to their day with FB and see this abomination.  Last time, (Cheerios)
Cheerios Ingredients
  1. WHOLE GRAIN OATS. This is important because when the “whole grain” bandwagon started, people lost site of what “whole grain” really is supposed to be. Whole grains ground down to flour, do not offer you the same health benefits as whole grains period.
  2. The second ingredient is CORN STARCH. Not only is this offering us little in terms of high quality nutrition, but there is a SUPER high chance that this is coming from genetically modified sources, as today corn is one of the top 3 genetically modified crops grown.
  3. The third ingredient is – SUGAR. Famous nutrition / dietitian, Jeff Novick , teaches audiences world wide, to make a quality food, sugar and salt should not be in the top five ingredients.
  4. The fourth ingredient – SALT. Cheerios is not a healthy option for people at risk for cardiovascular problems.
  5. The next ingredient, trisodium phosphate (TSP), on the Cheerios list. So what is that? A common, strong cleaning compound.
According to Wikipedia,  trisodium phosphate is a cleaning agent, food additive, stain remover and degreaser. And also according to Wikipedia, “It is generally considered to be a bad idea to ingest compounds that are sufficiently caustic to dissolve cell membranes.” You think? So what is this substance doing in your food?
In food, TSP is used as an acidity regulator (buffering agent), emulsifier, thickening agent, nutrition enlargement agent and sequestrant (metal-chelating agent). Although naturally according to the FDA, the TSP is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), I think common sense tells us chemicals like this should not be in our food period. It is one thing having adults eat this, but the common parent gives Cheerios with these chemicals, as a treat to their babies.
6. The calcium carbonate, is a common dietary source of calcium, which makes it sound fine, but more so it is used as a food preservative, color retainer, emulsifier, firming or bleaching agent.
7. Monoglycerides are single fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule. Basically, they are modified fats, which are used to blend together certain ingredients, such as oil and water. According to, the commercial source may be either animal (cow- or hog-derived) or vegetable, and they may be synthetically made as well.
8. Tocopherols are a series of organic compounds  consisting of various methylated phenols. They usually have vitamin E activity, and are mainly used to preserve food, especially oils from going rancid.
There is not much to say about wheat starch, so we will skip on to the last ingredient – annatto. This is a color additive, and is generally considered to be a natural one. Despite this, it is known in many cases as a food allergen.
Many people also think Cheerios are a healthy option because they are low in calories. However, the calories, should really not be our main concern unless we are on some strict diet.
The bigger issues to focus on are: is there any trans fat, saturated fat and sugar? How much? What is the sodium amount? If it is higher than the number of calories per serving, than it is a high sodium food, and should definitely not be eaten by someone with high blood pressure or at risk for it.

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