Monday, September 10, 2007

American Heart Association loves sugar and butylated hydroxytoluene

So Cheerios has recently launched a new cereal entitled, "Fruity Cheerios" and smack on the American website is its AHA "Heart Check" endorsement.

So what's a Heart Check? Well it's pretty much the same thing as the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check.

According to the AHA's website,

"We know grocery shopping isn't always easy. With so many food product options, it's hard to spot healthful choices without spending a lot of time. That's why we created our Food Certification Program. We wanted consumers like you to be able to quickly look for a simple symbol that means a food product is heart-healthy.

You can rely on our mark because the American Heart Association is your most trusted source of heart-health information. Before our mark can be displayed, a food must pass nutritional guidelines and reviews as well as meet all appropriate governmental regulations. The distinctive heart-check mark on a package assures you that a food meets criteria for heart-healthy levels of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2
So what kind of nutritional wonder makes up Fruity Cheerios?

Well each serving has over 2 teaspoons of sugar made up from 4 different sources:

  • Sugar (2nd ingredient)
  • Corn Syrup (4th ingredient)
  • Orange Juice Concentrate (6th ingredient)
  • Dried Corn Syrup (7th ingredient)

  • In a cup per cup comparison with Froot Loops, Fruity Cheerios only has 1 gram less sugar and 7 fewer calories.

    What else is in Fruity Cheerios? Well like Froot Loops it's also got such yummies as Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 and butylated hydroxytoluene (listed as BHT on the box).

    What's BHT?

    Well BHT is produced by an alkylation reaction of p-cresol with isobutylene and it's used not only as a food additive, but also in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products, and embalming fluid (according to Wikipedia). As a food additive BHT has been banned in Japan, Romania, Sweden, England and Australia and the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends it be avoided whenever possible.

    So the American Heart Association basically recommends that you feed your toddlers Froot Loops with a questionable food additive for breakfast?


    I wonder how long before it gets a Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Check?

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    1. Anonymous1:13 pm

      Interesting that it is so close in composition to Froot Loops but with added nastiness. Guess if you have to give your kids something like that, the 1/3 Less Sugar Froot Loops would be a better choice. That's sad considering how trustworthy people seem to think Cheerios are. Most people would never even think to check the label.

    2. Anonymous2:28 pm

      Yoni, I am an obesity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Several years ago we did experiments in the Petri dish where we treated immature fat cells with tBHQ [tert butyl hydroquinone] which I think is formed in the body when BHT is consumed. tBHQ was better than the classic TZD drugs in converting pre-adipocytes to adipocytes - I'll post that pdf on my web page when I get home - maybe that is why we as a nation are getting so fat!

      I never published that b/c I thought it was not being used anymore...

      Wikipedia says that fish can contain up to 1000 mg/kg of tBHQ.

      Thanks for the interesting blog!

      Steven R. SMith

    3. Thanks Steven!

      If you've got a link down the road, please feel free to post it.

      Best regards and perhaps we'll run into each other in New Orleans.