Monday, June 13, 2011

New Chocolate Cheerios make Froot Loops look downright healthy!


One of the largest drivers of diet related chronic disease is misinformation, and the un-level playing field we enter every time we step foot in a supermarket.

With health claims, both overt and covert (implied), and governments that don't seem to care, consumers are left to fend for themselves in the face of Big Food's massive marketing machines.

Today's case in point?

New Chocolate Cheerios.

The box tries to sucker you in with,

"Whole grain guaranteed",

"Made with Real Cocoa",

and,

"May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease".
The website tries to bamboozle you with,
"One delightful serving of Chocolate Cheerios® has 9 grams of sugar and is a heart-healthy choice for your whole family."

and,

"Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease"
Super-healthy! If you feed it to your family, they'll reduce their risk of heart disease, right?

Way better than the Froot Loops you grudgingly buy your kids, no?

No.

Let's compare. Spoon per spoon those, "healthy" Chocolate Cheerios contain identical amounts of sugar, 17% more calories, 40% more sodium, and 11% less fibre than Froot Loops, a cereal no one in their right mind would describe as "healthy".

And people still want to believe it's all about parents saying "no", and personal responsibility.

Consumers don't stand a chance.

[BTW - the box up above is the American box. Here in Canada our government hasn't yet ok'ed the heart health claim....but sadly it probably will down the road]


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18 comments:

  1. Shannon5:54 am

    That cereal hasn't landed on our shores yet (UK) - not that I've seen anyway. Instead we have the monstrosity that is Kellogg's Krave - something the size of a bite-size mini-wheat and filled with nutella. They also have a version that's just filled with chocolate. http://www.kelloggs.co.uk/products/Krave/Cereal/krave.aspx and http://www.krave.com/product.aspx

    Of course it's advertised as a healthy breakfast cereal or snack.

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  2. Paulette6:49 am

    OK at the risk of sounding like an old crock, I was raised to be highly skeptical about anything advertisers say about anything, cause their bottom line is to sell product. Therefore products will be made as attractive as possible. The reason behind focus groups is to find out what messages consumers will respond to and then force fit those messages to products (food or otherwise). Chocolate Cheerios fall handily into what I have always classed as junk cereal, and yes I did say no to my son when he asked for cereals like Froot Loops - and my reason to him was that they are junk. period.
    Is it not easy to say no - not at all and it gets harder every year as fewer and fewer children are taught anything resembling critical thinking, but this is nothing really new - just more & more of the same.
    My son doesn't buy this junk for his kids either - same reasons as mine - these are junk foods - not even on the treat list.
    Our food environment certainly needs cleaning up (desperately), but lets not throw up our hands in despair and see ourselves as helpless victims either.

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  3. Frootloops have 13 grams of sugar per 30 grams, and Chocolate cheerios have 9 grams of sugar per 27 grams. So, Frootloops are still a bit worse, no?

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  4. People don't serve by weight, they serve by volume.

    Froot Loops has 12g of sugar per cup, and so do Chocolate Cheerios.

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  5. Interesting that you would post this today. I just finished my very first bowl of chocolate cheerios!
    It was a bit of a surprise to find them in our pantry; I guess it has something to do with my college student being home for the summer.

    I was thinking as I was looking at the nutritional info -- good ol' plain Cheerios (with no added flavorings and little sugar) are the first cereal that parents feed their kids. It seems like most toddlers have a supply of the stuff handy to snack on and they love the stuff. I still like Cheerios and never add sugar, just a little milk (or a handful right out of the box as a snack). Why would they have to ruin it?
    I'm a chocolate lover. But for breakfast...I'll take the plain old Cheerios, please.

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  6. Anonymous8:34 am

    I still believe it's about personal responsibility and saying no. Nobody HAS TO walk the cereal aisle when shopping. If you do, then it's your responsibility to ensure that what you're purchasing isn't going to kill you. I'll never defend big food industries but their job is to make money. Our job is to ensure that what we eat is as healthy as possible. That means saying no and it may mean not frequenting certain establishments.

    I am a self-professed potato chip addict. I know how bad they are for me and I know that Lays, in particular has ads on TV boasting of "natural" ingredients. Does that fool me into thinking they're a good snack option? No. That's Lays trying to sell me a product. If I know they're a problem for me then I just don't buy them. I'm happy to say that I've been potato chip free since March! Personal responsibility and saying no to myself and everyone else in my household (which does include 3 children).

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  7. I hate to deflate John's hubris, but given that carbohydrates constitute about 70% of the caloric contribution of oats in Cheerios, those calories can only come from, grosso-modo, glucose and fructose (good ol' sugar). Thus we see from the nutrition label that the first three major components of Cheerios are actually sugar: Whole Wheat Grain Oats, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar. The fifth ingredient is sugar as well: Wheat Starch. In counterpoint, the fiber content is low. But don't worry, be happy, because it's "low fat and cholesterol free! Hee-haw!"

    Radhia Gleis says: if it's popped, puffed, flaked, floured, or instant, it's refined. Face it, Cheerios is a highly refined cereal like all the rest. It's so denatured that they have to bolster it with a slew of added ingredients. Not to put too fine a point on it, to eat a bowl of Cheerios is to eat a bowl of sugar for building up one's fat cells. Not surprising; this is the case for virtually all refined cereals. Chocolate Cheerios is just a latecomer to the refined cereals hall of horrors.

    It is good that the first sugar in Cheerios is encased in some fiber, because that reduces the rate of carbohydrate absorption, thus moderating the body's insulin response. But still, sugar is sugar: it's nothing to crow about.

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  8. This is about being informed. Most of us reading this blog are interested in our health and are probably already being discerning in our choices. We need to be concerned for the rest of the GP out there making unconscious choices...hoping the too good to be true, is true. Let's keep spreading the word!

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  9. I recently received a coupon for a free box of the Chocolate Cherrios. I have never had any intention of using the coupon or giving it to anyone else. Chocolate does not belong at breakfast. No wonder our kids are learning such bad habits.

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  10. Regarding Anonymous's message that no one has to walk down the cereal aisle, I spotted the Chocolate Cheerios in the yogurt (dairy) section of my local grocer. They try to get you anywhere they can! I actually held the box to try to figure out the nutritional value, if any. I had a toddler by my side and doing the math was turning my brain into a knot. I put the box back. Personal choice, yes, but they'll keep trying any chance they get!

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  11. This surprises me! I guess when I thought, "Cheerios," I assumed that it would be much healthier. Thanks for clearing that up. I guess the moral of the post is that we all need to keep doing our own food analysis.

    :-) Mariom

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  12. It's true that as consumers and parents we can Just Say No, but the truth is, MANY people out there still fall for this kind of stuff. If it didn't work, Big Food wouldn't do it. It's marketing, plain and simple,

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  13. I discovered Chocolate Cheerios about 3 months ago and I am in love with it! I am doing Weight Watches and 3/4 cup of the dry chocolate cereal is 2 points, add half a cup of skim milk for 1 point. This is a delicious and really not a bad snack. Everything needs to me in moderation. If a person eats the entire box at once, yeah that's bad, but if your entire day consists of you eating well and a balanced diet, it's totally ok to treat yourself with a 3/4 cup bowl! I am also exercising and losing weight so I don't think this cereal is bad for me. I think that just because something has sugar and carbs doesn't mean that it's the devil.

    That person that has the coupon for the Chocolate Cheerios, can I have it please? :)

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  14. Anonymous1:43 am

    I agree with Teka. Eating a bowl of Chocolate Cheerios once in awhile as a treat isn't going to kill you. Far better probably than eating a whole chocolate bar or a piece of chocolate cake with frosting. I don't like food Naziism and that's what most of you are spouting. Taken in moderation, chocolate foods have a place in any reasonable diet. I had Chocolate Cheerios today and enjoyed them. But I won't have them tomorrow and probably not until next week.

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  15. Really!! If you say chocolate cheerios are healthy and if you believe that they are healthy, then you are a tool. I have em at home and I like em, they as pretty darn tasty and are a light snack. And that's all they are, a light snack, although not a good one. In saying that though, if your one of those people that go, "eew, that's not healthy for you, you gonna get fat". Go slap yourself. Why, because slapping your self isn't good for you also, it will hurt if you do it 3 times a day, everyday. Same with chocolate cheerios. If you fill your face with em 3 times a day, everyday for how every long, well guess what, your gonna get fat. Like any food, it's not what you eat but how much you eat and when. Chocolate Cheerios are a 8 on the yummy scale, and a 2 on the good for your healthy scale.

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  16. Anonymous9:04 am

    Anything that tastes good and with sugar in it will make you fat and die. come on people, obviously there will always be things that are healthier than others and you don't have to look at the nutrition facts to tell...hmm which is better? Chocolate Cheerios? or that Dried Fruit, Nut, Whole Grain, Sugar-Free, Oat, Nut, Natural, Extra Fiber and Protein Cereal? Get over it.

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  17. Anonymous12:32 am

    Hmm... My body requires calories and sodium every day. It especially needs carbs after having not eaten for 12 hours. I don't think anyone is suggesting you live on nothing but chocolate Cheerios, or even having them for breakfast every day, but would a cupful once or twice a week as PART of your breakfast?

    What's next; don't drink water because too much will throw off your electrolytes?

    Moderation...

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  18. Anonymous1:26 am

    I just ate a bowl and yes they are amazing!!! Merca!!!

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