March 17, 2009

More of the Same

Join me as I peruse the breakfast food aisle and analayze the newest offerings.

First up -- Kellogg's Raisin Bran Extra (traditional Kellogg's Raisin Bran with yogurt clusters, cranberries, and almonds.)

While points are scored for the exclusive use of whole wheat and presence of seven grams of fiber, not all is peachy.

The ingredient list displays sugar on six separate occasions, and a cup of this cereal contains as much sodium as two 1-ounce bags (think vending machine size) of Doritos!

Hannah Montana's gruesome invasion of pop culture now extends to cereal thanks to Kellogg's Hannah Montana cereal ("multi-grain secret star cereal with strawberry milkshake flavoring.")

The product's nutrition label, much like Miley Cyrus' vocal capability, is absolutely lackluster.

One cup offer a paltry gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and five times more sodium than potassium (the marker of a heavily processed food).

The ingredient list doesn't fare out much better. First up on the list? Corn meal.

Since the cereal is made from corn and oat, it is obnoxiously advertised as "multi grain" (literally meaning "more than one grain" and further proof that "multi grain" has nothing to do with fiber content!)

Let's move on to Pop Tarts' newest flavor, chocolate banana split ("white dough, banana/chocolate striped filling, white base frosting, and crunchlettes").

Just one of these toaster pastries (not exactly the most accurate serving size, especially since you get two per individual pack) clocks in at 200 calories, 200 milligrams of sodium, and 4 teaspoons of added sugar.

Despite the illustration of fresh banana slices on the packaging, bananas are missing from the ingredient list.

Underwhelming, yet not at all surprising.


Brandon said...

Big picture, is the sodium content what's really important? I feel like you are nit-picking here, making you look like a 'food cop'. Gram for gram, Raisin Bran Extra has only slightly more sodium than 100% whole wheat bread. 7g fiber, 5g protein, and you want to complain about the sodium? Wouldn't it be better for someone to eat Raisin Bran Extra than to eat Hannah Montana cereal or those pop tarts? Not optimal, but headed in the right direction. What you should be complaining about is the price tag, but even that can be remedied if you buy it on sale.

Other than that, I do enjoy reading your blog. Usually a lot of good info.

Andy Bellatti said...


You make a valid point. My reasoning for pointing out the sodium in Raisin Bran Extra was twofold:

1) To emphasize that a food should be looked at as a WHOLE (rather than, for instance, simply isolating the high fiber content and therefore branding it as "healthy")

2) It is significantly higher than most cereals (Total Raisin Bran, for example, provides 220 milligrams per cup)

Sodium is interesting because we have become so accustomed to processed food high in sodium that we begin to take copious amounts for granted.

I think people -- and their wallets -- are better off buying a high fiber cereal lower in sodium and adding their own raisins to it.

Brandon said...

Very good points, it is very annoying when marketers do that with foods.

I don't think people should diss on cereal so much, even "sugary" cereals, which I still maintain is better than the alternative: I see a lot of kids bringing Hot Cheetos to school for breakfast. At my high school, the healthiest thing on the menu for breakfast was a bagel w/ cream cheese.

Ha that is very true about becoming accustomed to processed foods high in sodium. I tend not to worry about sodium from foods in the grains group, because i'm not going to make my own bread or something, but I definitely find better alternatives to foods like Chef Boyardee products with 900 mg sodium per serving(and 2 servings per can) or velveeta/kraft cheeses with 400mg sodium per slice.

In school, professors were telling me they've done 24 hr diet recalls and were finding out some people were eating 9 grams of Sodium a day! Wow.

Andy Bellatti said...


Interesting you mention Hot Cheetos for breakfast -- this morning I Twittered (@andybellatti) about seeing a mother feed her 2 or 3 year old child Doritos and Mountain Dew on the subway.