Wheres the Fiber in Whole Grain Cereals?
February 23, 2005
General Mills has been receiving much obliged praise from nutritionists
and researchers for adding whole grains to breakfast cereals that
did not contain them before; yet the fiber content in many of these
cereals has barely increased, if at all.
Information on two General
Mills web sites states:
- Twenty-eight of the company's 52 cereals have not increased
in fiber content
- Two cereals have 1 gram less fiber than they did before being
- Fourteen have increased by 1 gram of fiber -- 11 of which increased
to 1 gram from zero
- A total of 22 cereals contains only 1 gram of fiber
- Five cereals have no fiber at all: Boo Berry, Frosted Chex,
Honey Nut Chex, Franken Berry and Shrek
Further, only 24 of the current General Mills cereals include two
or more grams of fiber and would meet the standards of the Whole
Grains Council, a trade association dedicated to increasing the
intake of whole grains. In fact, according to the council standards,
a true whole grain product must have at least two grams of fiber
per serving, if not four to five grams or more.
"Baby Steps" in the Right Direction
Though the whole grain increase is only the tip of the iceberg,
General Mills seems to be making steps in the right direction: Some
of the new cereal versions contain the important missing micronutrients
-- antioxidants, phytochemicals or disease fighting plant chemicals
-- and minerals like selenium and chromium, which have been found
to reduce the risk of heart disease, help with weight maintenance
and reduce the risk of diabetes and other illnesses.
It is important to note, however, this whole grain inclusion does
not mean the cereals are an excellent source of nutrition. Experts
explain many cereals are nothing more than breakfast candy, almost
half sugar. Also, the level of whole grains in a ready-to-eat cereal,
regardless of the brand, is dependent on the cereal's sugar content.
The more sugar, the less grain and fiber.
York Times February 9, 2005