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Whole Grain Cereal Not So "Whole" After All

You may remember an article I posted last month about revised U.S. dietary guidelines that emphasize, in part, eating whole grains. A pretty interesting New York Times story did some digging to check out claims made by cereal maker General Mills about the new addition of whole grains to their breakfast cereal.

And I was not surprised to learn the fiber content of most breakfast cereals had changed little since the company's announcement. In fact, two cereals have 1 gram less of fiber than before. More by the numbers:

  • Twenty-eight of the 52 cereals General Mills produces contain the same level of fiber as before.
  • Eleven cereals moved up to 1 gram of fiber per serving, from 0.
  • Twenty-two cereals have just 1 gram of fiber total.
  • Five cereals have no fiber at all.

A spokesperson for the Center for Science in the Public Interest said it best: "It's important for people to realize that using whole grains in breakfast cereals does not turn them into health foods. Many are still breakfast candy, almost half-sugar."

One of the ongoing goals of my Web site is to separate fact from fiction, and the long-standing belief that whole grains are good for you is squarely the latter. This is just one of those top six health myths I wrote about last year that just won't go away.

While nearly everyone, including me, agrees whole grains are better for you than refined grains, whole grains are still not something that most people should be eating. Fact is, more than 75 percent of Americans would benefit from severely limiting or eliminating all grains -- refined, whole, sprouted or otherwise -- from their diets.

New York Times February 9, 2005

Spartanburg Herald-Journal February 9, 2005

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