General Mills' Whole Grain Standards Debated

You may recall a popular piece I posted earlier this year about General Mills' marketing push to add whole grains to their line of breakfast cereals. The Minnesota-based giant has taken their campaign further, petitioning the FDA to adopt a whole grains "standard." General Mills proposes foods with at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving be designated an excellent source, while products with 8-15 grams labeled a good source.

A number of processed food manufacturers -- namely bread and pasta makers -- are up in arms, arguing General Mills' proposal unfairly places cereals and crackers ahead of them by setting the whole grains bar too high, due to their water content (more water, less whole grain content). For example, 30 grams of bread contains 37 percent moisture while the same amount of cereal has at most 4 percent moisture.

A former staffer with the Grocery Manufacturers of America had the real reason for General Mills' proposal pegged just right, however: A leg up over the competition. "In a business where (profit) margins are so modest, you have to look for any marketing advantage you can. Getting a type of government approval is valuable."

As you know, "the whole grains is good for you" mantra General Mills and all the rest are hyping is nothing but a myth. 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, especially if they are protein nutritional types.

And, if you want to get more fiber in your diet without relying on whole grains, I encourage you to increase your intake of vegetables, as vegetable-based fibers have better health consequences for the majority of people.

Yahoo News June 17, 2005

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