I was taken aback when I first saw the commercial on television. “Cereal now boosts your immunity!” crowed the little elves commonly known as Snap, Crackle and Pop. I looked more closely at the package when I visited the grocery store that evening. (Yes, I visit the grocery – at least once every couple of days. I can’t keep food in this house to save my life. Kids and their insane desire to eat ten times a day.)
Cocoa Krispies were labeled, until last week, with a splashy logo touting a 25% daily value of antioxidants and nutrients – Vitamins A, B, C and E. To this mom, it seemed to capitalize on the H1N1/Swine Flu hype that has been ongoing. How will we protect our children? What can we do to keep them safe?
Hint: the answer is definitely not “Feed them Cocoa Krispies.”
Sugar is the top ingredient in this cereal, listed three times – as sugar, as an ingredient in the chocolate, and as high fructose corn syrup. The label also lists partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (translation, trans fats!), and artificial flavoring.
A serving size of this cereal is listed as a three-quarter cup, and that amount contains more than three teaspoons, or more than 39% of the weight. In my book, I would look no further. This cereal is not a healthy choice for a growing child. The vitamins that are listed are sprayed onto the cereal bits, and when you add milk to the bowl, they wash off. If your child does not drink the milk, there are no immune-boosting vitamins ingested. Even if your child drinks the milk, or eats the cereal dry, the amount of the touted vitamins is minimal, and some schools of thought indicate that sprayed-on vitamin supplements are poorly absorbed.
On the recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Kellogg’s is voluntarily discontinuing this product label.
A far better way to boost the immune system is a healthy intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate rest and exercise, and frequent hand washing, as well as avoidance of those who are ill. Don’t be swayed by flashy labeling that preys on your fears – take the time to read the label and make an informed choice.
Also read: Four Ways to Make Breakfast Cereal a Winner