Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Food Banks Canada Demonstrates the Folly of Working with the Food Industry

Yesterday's story showed how the Heart and Stroke Foundation's divorce from the food industry finally allowed them to speak their mind.

Today's story's not like that.

Today's story is about Food Banks Canada and their partnership with "Breakfast Cereal Canada" (a food industry organization) who for a measly $25,000 bought Food Bank Canada's imprimatur and endorsement for their new, "What's in the Bowl" hurray for breakfast cereal promotion.

Want to guess what What's in the Bowl has to say about the fact that in many cases breakfast cereals are just bowls of pulverized white flour sprinkled with sugar?
"When you consider sugar consumption, it’s important to look at the total amount of sugar in your diet from all sources. In the case of cereal, it’s worth noting that studies have found that less than five percent of the total daily sugar in Canadian diets typically comes from cereal – and that includes the pre-sweetened varieties. At the same time cereal often provides fibre and important vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, B vitamins – and the research shows that without adequate intake of these nutrients at breakfast, most people don’t make up for the shortfall later in the day."
Really, you have to love that 5% number. It's a per capita number and consequently it's useless in terms of describing the total daily sugar cereal provides to actual consumers of cereal given not everyone eats cereal for breakfast and perhaps as many as 1/3 of the population don't eat breakfast at all. The only reason to use a per capita number here is to make the number seem much lower than it actually is for cereal eaters.

The campaign has even purchased the services of consulting RD Lydia Knorr who added her two cents on sugar in breakfast cereals in the press release,
"As a dietitian, it makes me happy to hear that consumers are taking factors such as sugar and additives in their foods seriously and want to know more. But what many people don't realize is that cereals can provide more iron, folic acid, zinc, B vitamins and fibre than other conventional breakfast choice."
Gotta love those magic nutrients that make everything else in the bowl a-ok. Krave, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honeycombs for everyone! And hey, can someone please fortify alcohol with vitamins for us adults?