Since I’ve started writing this blog, there’s probably nothing that I hate more than a food product with a less than stellar ingredient list that desperately tries to pass itself off as healthy through ridiculously annoying commercials and tricky branding strategies. There are so many of them out there and the Great Grains cereal line by Post is one of them.
The cereal came to my attention when I saw the commercial for it on TV a few weeks ago. If features celebrity chef Curtis Stone and his Australian accent, an accusation that their competitors product is “more processed,” and a backdrop of rolling fields of wheat, all there to try and convince you that this cereal is “healthy,” when it actually contains a whole lot of crap that you really don’t want to be eating!
Sure, they’ve left the grains that they use to make the cereal flakes whole and unprocessed. That’s great. Whole grains are good. But when you add things like high oleic vegetable oil and corn syrup to those whole grains, well, suddenly the cereal is a lot less natural and healthy than the box and commercial make it out to be.
Here are the nutrition facts and ingredient lists for two of the Great Grains cereals:
Post Great Grains Crunchy Pecans
Post Great Grains Raisins, Dates & Pecans
At a first glance, neither of these looks too bad. And to be honest, this isn’t the worst thing you could have for breakfast. If you’re really into cereal and must have it for breakfast, this would be better option than 75% of the other cereals out there. But two things that Fooducate points out, and that you should keep in mind before purchasing this cereal, is that despite it’s name and an entire brand strategy focused on the goodness of whole grains, it’s actually not 100% whole grain or whole wheat, and that the added sugars come from sneaky ingredients like corn syrup.
Some products boast whole grain goodness on the package when in fact most of the flour being used is not whole grain. To be sure, read the ingredient list and look for 100% whole grain, 100% whole wheat, etc.
Corn syrup is often used as a sweetener in processed food. It is NOT THE SAME as high fructose corn syrup. Don’t be fooled when looking up the amount of sugar a product contains if corn syrup is listed as an ingredient. This is because corn syrup contains 50% sugar, and 50% of another form of carbohydrate known as “”oligosaccharides”“, which is pretty close to sugar. If a product has less sugar than you think it should, but contains corn syrup in the ingredient list, you’ll know that the missing carbs are those oligosaccharides, not much better.
Not to mention, the ingredients contain BHT, which is bit of a controversial product and a whole other story. But the bottom line is that, the big food companies like Post, General Mills, Nestle, and Kraft know that people want to eat healthier. They know people are becoming more aware of the fact that whole grains are much better than grains that are processed and refined, and they’re spending a lot of money to advertise and brand their products as such. Unfortunately, just because they’re able to make a food look and sound healthy, doesn’t meant that it is. So make sure you read labels, read ingredients, and eat whole, natural foods more often than you eat foods that come from a box!
[images via postfoods.com]