Monday, July 12, 2010
Banana????? Nut????? Cheerios
I’m going to do something a little different with my blog entry today. Today we eat! Today we eat a totally nutritious meal from General Mills! Mmmm… Sounds good, eh?
Yeah, not so much.
I was in Publix the other day and a big ol’ BOGO sign jumped out at me. I love BOGO cereal. That stuff is normally expensive. Two for one? I’m all over that. Anything healthy?
“Banana Nut Cheerios”. That’s got to be good for you, right? I bought 4 boxes.
OK, on the front of the box General Mills completely blows smoke up your butt. It’s pure marketing genius. Across the top is a blue strip (blue is a nice color, right?) with the words “Whole Grain Guaranteed”. A huge checkmark is there to prove this fact. There are also “Nutrition Highlights” that show that BNC is low in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars (really? More on that later) and it has good stuff like Calcium and Vitamin D. Love the use of the buzz words.
The rest of the front of the box is YELLOW (the other happy color). Written in beautiful cursive above “Banana Nut Cheerios” are the words “Naturally Flavored”. Below it says “Flavored with Real Banana and Natural Banana Flavor.”
I guess if you CAPITALIZE, underline and bold stuff then it makes it real. I am the GREATEST triathlete in the world. Nope; doesn’t work for me either.
Did you catch that sly little thing they did? I didn’t miss it. WTF is “Natural Banana Flavor”. That’s not included in “Real Banana”. Really?!?
Before we get to the ingredients and actually see what is in this box of crap let’s see what the lies are on the rest of the box.
The back of the box has some gems:
“Delight in the taste of real banana!”
“The wholesome goodness of Cheerios cereal with the taste of REAL banana baked into every delicious bite.”
When was the last time you baked banana into corn. Huh? Read on.
“Heart-healthy nutrition baked into an incredibly delicious cereal!”
Heart-healthy? Hoooo-lee shit! Really?!?
“Great Taste Your Family will Love, with the Goodness of Cheerios! Ready to brighten up breakfast? Heart-healthy Cheerios cereals delivers nutrition you can trust and whole grain goodness in every serving, along with great tastes your entire family will love.”
What a load of crap. This is why America is fat. People actual believe these lies.
Boy, are we good at marketing though. Look at the buzz words we see on the back of this box: Delight, great taste, wholesome goodness, real banana, every delicious bite, heart healthy, incredibly delicious, nutrition, goodness, deliver, entire family will love. Whatever.
The side panel opposite the nutrition info (the only truths on the box) has more crap that we don’t need to regurgitate. There actually is one thing that’s pretty cool. It is a web address:
I’m not going to talk a lot of about this website. View it yourself. Honestly it makes me a little sick. It’s all lies and mis-truths. The front page actually has a picture of a WHEAT field (Remember this point. We will come back to this) and a bunch of boxes of cereal. Nutritious gems like Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Are you kidding me?
Now, what really matters. I wonder why the nutrition info (The actually info and not just the buzz words) is in black plain typeface on white background. How bizarre.
OK, the top part of the nutrition panel has the Calories and Total Fat and Vitamins; I give little credence to this part. It’s all perspective and it doesn’t matter. Protein that you get from beans is going to be vastly different from the dead and useless protein you get from this box of cereal. It means nothing to me.
Now what means something (Actually everything) are the ingredients. OK, time for the big reveal. Hold onto your hats. This is going to get ugly.
Here they are in the order presented on the box. Presumably this is the largest quantity to smallest.
1. Whole grain CORN. Corn? Corn? C O R N? Corn really isn’t that good for you anyway but all ground up and cooked? Worse. Heart healthy? http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,994390,00.html
2. Sugar. There’s a shocker. Uh, sugar is bad for you. Ever hear that before? I’m not making this stuff up. http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/sugar.htm
3. Whole grain oats. OK this seems fine. Oats are good. I’m sure those that the “oats” here are cooked and dead. This is cool. www.wholegrainoats.ca is a website that gives you lots of info about Whole Grain Oats, right? Sure. Now go there and click the “home” button. What do you find then? If you look closely you will see the General Mills logo. That’s right. General Mills created the website. This, my friends, is the world in which we live.
4. Brown sugar syrup. WTF is Brown Sugar Syrup? Brown sugar is simply sugar and molasses. Molasses is a byproduct of processing sugar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molasses . Brown sugar syrup is presumably the byproduct of processing when you add the two together.
5. Corn syrup. Uh sugar. So we have 5 ingredients now and three of them are sugar. No wonder it tastes good.
6. Canola and/or Rice bran oil. Really? I don’t know where to begin on this one. Well, which is it? Canola or Rice Bran oil. Honesty I have never even heard of rice bran oil. Why do they not know which one it is? That’s weird. By the way, Canola is from the rapeseed plant. Canola was a word invented by marketers because rapeseed doesn’t sound that fun. So far we have corn, sugar, oats and rice. On what planet is that “wholesome goodness”?
7. Salt. 160mg per serving of sodium. That’s quite a bit.
8. Dried Corn Syrup. Mmmmm. Tasty! Again this is simply sugar.
9. Banana puree. Wahoo! Something good! The 2nd biggest word on the front of the box is “BANANA”. Why is it the 9th ingredient after four different forms of sugar?
10. Corn bran. ???
11. Corn starch. Holy crap. 11 ingrediants and five of them have the word “corn”. You might as well be eating deep fried and sugar coated corn on the cob. (with salt)
12. Modified corn starch. Huh? 6/12 corn. I guess “Corn Nut Cheerios didn’t sound as appealing. Oh yeah, what about the nuts? Where are the missing nuts?
13. Trisodium Phosphate. A preservative or something.
14. Color Added. What is the blue hell does that mean? Color added? Is that an ingredient? That is exactly what it says on the box. Huh? What color is it? Why does it say that? WTF.
15. Sodium citrate. Third use of the word “sodium”. Still no nuts and only one mention of “banana”.
16. Natural Flavor. OK, you have to wonder why they don’t put which natural flavor it is. Don’t you think if it were a true natural flavor they would be happy to put it here?
http://www.supermarketguru.com/index.cfm/go/sg.viewArticle/articleId/1208 Yes, the term “natural flavor” could be MSG. I wouldn’t make this up.
17. Natural Almond Flavor. We have a winner. Number 17 on the list. Wait a gosh darn minute. Why not just almonds? What is almond flavor? Real almonds and associated nutrients don’t cook well. Almond “flavor” does. Sorry you get no real nourishment from almond flavor. Shocker.
So there you have it. Now can you tie together the magic marketing words on the box with the above ingredients? Did you spot the “heart healthy”.
It tastes good but there is no nutrition there.
Please realize something. If most of your diet comes from a box or a bag then you are getting tons of chemicals and sugar but very little in the way of nutrients that will support you through the day. Look at the box. You will see.
I encourage you to eat whole natural food like fruits, vegetables, clean meats, brown rice and fish as much as humanly possible. A bowl of Cheerios every so often won’t push you off the cliff; it’s just going to bring you one step closer.
Eat right. Move your body. Have a positive attitude. Is there really anything else?