Breakfast is Not So G-r-r-reat When Your Only Option is Frosted Flakes

Frosted FlakesIn the U.S., a quarter of children go without breakfast each morning.  Last week, Kellogg started new project called Share Your Breakfast, which involves the company donating up to a million school breakfasts for children in need.

But while this sounds philanthropic, feeding children highly-processed junk foods is not the answer. As part of this project, Kellogg is promoting foods such as Frosted Flakes, which contains 11 grams of sugar per three-fourths cup serving, and Nutri-Grain bars, which contain high-fructose-corn syrup, artificial flavors, and a host of other chemicals.

The Huffington Post reports:

"According to research ...  children will eat cereal with less sugar if the option is made available ... [T]he industry strives to reinforce the myth that children will not eat low-sugar cereals ... Make no mistake, Share Your Breakfast is an advertising campaign above all else."

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It doesn't surprise me that another food industry conglomerate is interested in expanding its bottom line. What does surprise me is the outlandish claims it is making to push its nutritionally disastrous products on unsuspecting children and mothers across the US.

While I am the first to agree that providing underprivileged children access to a healthy breakfast is a noble goal, the Kellogg company's multi-platform marketing blitz featuring its sugar-laden cereals and snack bars is once again resorting to nutritional distortions that border on nonsensical.

What's Wrong with the Standard American Breakfast?

With sugar and carbohydrates being two of the prime causes of the massive childhood obesity epidemic in the US, eating any of the breakfasts involved in Kellogg's recently launched "Share Your Breakfast" promotion is much more likely to add to the number of obese children in the US than giving a single underprivileged child a healthy start to the day.

Because a diet loaded with sugar is anything but healthy.

Additionally, according to Cereal FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score), which was developed based on the best available science, in consultation with a steering committee of experts in nutrition, 5 of the top the 10 worst breakfast cereals based on nutrition score are Kellogg products!

If the Kellogg company really wants to do something beneficial for the health of US children, it would immediately reformulate its products to contain a fraction of the sugar currently found in most of its breakfast offerings. But they are unlikely to do that, because according to new content on their website sugar is a "misunderstood nutrient" that "does not cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or hyperactivity."

We'll look at these outrageous claims in more detail below.

Kellogg's "Share Your Breakfast" campaign is nothing but another slick marketing campaign created by the digital advertising agency Biggs-Gilmore, combining online ads with social media marketing, with a 30 second television commercial assist from one of the world's largest advertising firms, the Leo Burnett company.

I just hope that the mothers of America, who these promotions are usually aimed at, are able to look beyond Kellogg's polished marketing and apply some common sense to understand the truth – massive doses of sugar will never be part of a healthy breakfast.

According to Kellogg, Sugar isn't bad for You! It's Misunderstood!

According to the article above in the Huffington Post, Kellogg's is now claiming on their website that sugar "does not cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or hyperactivity."

If the truth was accepted they would be fined for advertising fraud.

There are tens of thousands of peer reviewed studies that support the harmful effects of sugar on human health and many are listed on this site. Just use the search engine at the top of every page and started reading a few of the thousands of articles I have posted on this topic. You can read the 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health.

Here are just a few of the links between sugar and various health problems:

Just How Much Sugar is in Kellogg Breakfast Cereals and Snack Bars?

Unscientifically speaking -- a lot.

Because let's not forget that "grains" of all types are simple carbohydrates and also spike both blood sugar and insulin in your body, just like sugar. So if you take into account the grains in Kellogg's cereals and snack bars, the first four or five ingredients all basically translate into sugar.

From the Huffington Post article above, (supporting the fact that sugar is bad for your health) comes some very revealing recommendations from the American Heart Association:

"One of the most recent studies, reported in TIME Magazine last year, found that consuming added sugars raises the risk for heart disease by raising cholesterol and triglycerides. The American Heart Association's (AHA) Web site states, "High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke."

The AHA is so concerned about the amount of added sugars in the American diet that in 2009 it established upper limits for adults (none exist yet for children, oddly enough). The AHA says that women should get no more than six teaspoons a day and men no more than nine.

Most of the Kellogg's products I researched contained an average of 11 grams of sugar per serving, which is close to three teaspoons of sugar. If we assume that the average child weighs about half what the average woman weighs, then three teaspoons is the upper limit of how much a child should safely consume in one day, according to the AHA.

That means the child couldn't eat any other added sugars for the rest of the day (not likely) and that he or she could only eat the single three-fourths cup serving (also, not likely). The AHA says the average American eats an alarming 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day."

In other words, according to no less a source than the American Heart Association, if a child starts their day with a typical Kellogg cereal or snack bar breakfast (the exact breakfast being promoted through Kellogg's slick "Share Your Breakfast" digital online and television marketing campaign) they are putting themselves at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

How is this in any way healthy?

And how does Kellogg get away with telling anyone this is healthy?

It is also ironic that Kellogg's partner in the "Share Your Breakfast" marketing campaign is a group called Action For Healthy Kids, who lists on their website that one of their listed associates is the American Heart Association!

All I can say to the Action For Healthy Kids people is, you're busted!

What I Personally Have for Breakfast

For my breakfast I put a scoop or two of the banana Miracle Whey in a one-quart glass mason jar, and then I add two to four raw eggs. These are typically eggs purchased from a local farmer, not from the grocery store, so they're organic, free-range eggs.

Now, I realize that some people don't like the texture of raw eggs. But that's typically due to a stringy consistency of raw egg whites. Fortunately, you won't need to worry about that with this breakfast, because when you mix it up as I recommend, the eggs are dissolved beyond having any texture issues (and they even add a slight vanilla taste to the drink). I challenge anyone to be able to differentiate between a shake that has raw eggs in it, and one that doesn't.

Seriously, you won't be able to tell the difference.

After putting in the whey mix and the eggs, I add one teaspoon of coconut oil. Coconut is a great source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are the best low glycemic fuel for your muscles after exercise (I also recommend exercising in the morning, before your breakfast).

If you like, you can beef up your morning meal even further. There is fiber in our Miracle Whey, but I add some organic defatted chia seed flour which is high in protein and water soluble and insoluble fibers. I then add two of our probiotic capsules and a vitamin K2.

I fill the jar with water to about half way up and then use a hand mixer to blend all these ingredients (you can get the hand mixer at either Costco or Target for about $30 or so, if you don't have one already). I strongly recommend a hand mixer instead of a blender for the ease of cleanup. You can rinse it clean in under five seconds.

So, if you like banana and coconut, you're going to love this recipe. The Miracle Whey uses digestive resistant maltodextrin which provides sweetness but does not at all raise insulin levels and also serves as a prebiotic fuel source for bacteria in your large intestine.

Other Healthful Breakfast Options

When it comes to a more conventional healthy breakfast, a much better and more sensible option than following Kellogg's "advice" is for you and your children to avoid sugar and grains of all kinds.

Remember, most people are unconsciously exchanging "convenience" for their health, and that's the primary reason companies like Kellogg's exist, because they make breakfast as easy as opening a box found on your grocery store shelf. But real nutrition takes a little more work than opening a processed food box, and you are too smart to make that mistake.

It is very important that you start your day off with a healthy breakfast, as studies have shown that eating breakfast can have beneficial effects on:

  • Appetite
  • Insulin resistance
  • Energy metabolism

One study even found that obesity and insulin resistance syndrome rates were 35 percent to 50 percent lower among people who ate breakfast every day, compared to those who frequently skipped it.

But there's more to it than simply not skipping the morning meal. You need to give your body high-quality fuel. And sugary breakfast cereals and snack bars simply do not qualify as high-quality fuel regardless of the fact that the Kellogg PR machine spends half a billion dollars a year telling you that they are!

I know that I said before raw eggs are nutritionally better than cooked eggs, but I do understand that serving raw eggs or even protein shakes mixed by a hand blender are not always an option when it comes to the tastes of children. But please understand that children will most likely form lifelong eating habits based on the foods you as a parent provide them. And according to the study above, children will even eat less sugary cereals when they are presented to them.

Not that I recommend even less sugary cereal options, because I don't.

So please give some serious thought about what types of foods your child eats for breakfast. Proper childhood nutrition is so important if you want to set the stage for lifelong health that I wrote an entire book on the subject called Generation XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food World.

The book includes 74 pages of kid-approved recipes, brimming with all-natural, healthy choices that will satisfy even your picky eaters. So if you're looking for even more options to wean your kids off breakfast cereal, this book is an excellent place to find them.

You can also download our Nutritional Typing Cookbook for free.

Remember to avoid serving grains or sugars to your children for breakfast in particular, and cutting grains and sugar out of other meals and snacks as well will return healthy dividends.

Serving processed sugary foods to children simply sets up a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits, much to the pleasure of Kellogg's who will increase their corporate profits, but much to the detriment of your and your children's health.