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Cereal Makers Sued For False Claims

Last week, I posted a story about the faulty claims made by cereal manufacturers that showed their products branded with "low-sugar" labeling were no more nutritious than their sweetened counterparts. In a reaction to that story, a concerned mother of two filed a class-action lawsuit late last week in San Diego Superior Court against Kraft Foods, Kellogg and General Mills, arguing the "low sugar" branding on boxes was misleading, along with marketing campaigns that falsely advertise these cereals as being nutritionally superior.

Her attorney appears to have a strong claim, considering scientists at five universities compared both "low sugar" and normal versions of the same cereals and found the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and other nutrients between "low sugar" and both kids of cereals was identical. Why? Cereal makers often substituted sugar with refined carbohydrates or Splenda to preserve a cereal's crunchiness.

The cereals examined by scientists:

  • Cocoa Puffs
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the only cereal in the group with fewer calories than its "full-sugar" version)
  • Trix
  • Frosted Flakes
  • Froot Loops
  • Fruity Pebbles

Although Kellogg refused to comment, General Mills backtracked, claiming it "never made specific health claims" about its "low sugar" cereals. And Post said the current version of its "low-sugar" brand of Fruity Pebbles was a first step in a process that would yield products with additional nutrients such as whole grains and fiber.

Just another reason, one of the first things I urge patients who want to optimize their health to do is severely restrict, with the eventual goal of eliminating, grains and sugars from their diets. Due to the obesity epidemic that plagues our country, I believe at least 75 percent of Americans would be better off without grains or sugars in their diets right now!

San Diego Union-Tribune March 29, 2005

Yahoo News March 28, 2005

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