|by Deborah Oke|
They're a popular finger food for toddlers, and countless kids (and adults) chow down on a bowl of them every morning. But is Cheerios cereal really a healthy food to be feeding your children or even yourself? Let's take a look at the Cheerios nutrition information.
Cheerios boast that they are made from heart healthy whole grains. There aren’t any added food dyes and the enriched vitamins and minerals are supposed to be good for you and your family. Therefore it would be easy to assume that Cheerios are a safe, nutritious choice for breakfast − especially since whole grains are part of the USDA's recommended dietary guidelines.
Unfortunately, what is NOT being listed, or listed accurately on the Cheerios nutrition label, is of bigger concern than what's shown on the label. For instance:
- Sugar sources
- Flavor enhancers
- Inorganic salts
These can all be found in Cheerios and all merit a closer investigation. Let's take a look at what these Cheerios ingredients and additives can do to your health...
What is Acrylamide?
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is formed when foods containing carbohydrates and sugar are cooked at high temperatures or for an extended period of time. This would include; frying, baking, boiling (process for canned products), and microwaving. The process of making plastic bags and containers also produce significant amounts of acrylamide making them unsafe for packaging food products.
So, the process of toasting the otherwise healthy wholegrain oats produces high levels of the toxic acrylamide. Storing them in a plastic bag inside the box adds even more toxicity. Cancers linked to acrylamide poisoning include: breast, prostate, ovarian, testicular, and thyroid.
The risks are high enough to attract attention from a private watchdog group. Researchers from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have documented multiple problems with America’s favorite cereals and snacks as related to acrylamide formation during cooking. Claims of cancer and neurological damage are worth reporting. Consumers need to know that what they are eating is affecting them adversely − the more we know the better we can protect ourselves.
So, what can you do to overcome the toxic overdose? The "master antioxidant" glutathione has shown to be an effective detoxifier against acrylamide. Consumption of uncooked vegetables rich in this antioxidant adds to the metabolic reserves that deactivate and flush out the poison.
Foods rich in glutathione include: fresh garlic, kale, green onions, broccoli, arugula (rocket), red peppers, and cauliflower. It is their naturally occurring sulfur-rich content that effectively deactivates the toxins.
It's also good practice to avoid products that are fried, baked at temperatures above 250 F for hours, or foods prepared or heated in a microwave. Canned foods (not to be confused with the canning of fruits and vegetables that you do at home) should also be avoided for the same reason.
You've Heard it Before: Avoid Refined Sugar
The message is finally getting out that refined sugar has negative effects on the entire body. Sugar turns to fat which causes obesity, mood swings, inability to concentrate, and diabetes. Worse than that sugar feeds diseases (including cancer), causing the body to become acidic which increases the proliferation of bad bacteria in the body. It also compromises the immune system and taxes the endocrine system, which is responsible for digestion and metabolism. There is nothing good about refined sugar except its taste, and too many of us are drawn to consume unhealthy foods because of our addiction to sugar.
Sugar is definitely not part of a healthy breakfast. Even worse yet, the “eye candy” factor of using a cute little bee on the packaging for Honey Nut Cheerios with the heart gives the impression that this product is all natural and sweetened with honey. What a scam! But that’s how "Big Food" operates.
Monoglycerides Extend Shelf Life
Monoglycerides and diglycerides go hand in hand. These ingredients are used as cheap emulsifiers and for extending the shelf-life of a product. They are actually hydrogenated oils made up of fatty acids similar to triglycerides (aka trans fats). These additives are found in virtually every name brand food on the market. They are also responsible for causing low-fat ice cream to be both tastier and not melt as it should. (As a side note, there are some interesting videos on YouTube of so-called "ice cream" that never melts!)
Processed food companies are able to hide trans fats through mono and diglyceride labels because they are classified as emulsifiers. This is how manufacturers disguise dangerous trans fats. Their products can be marketed as having zero trans fats when in fact they contain more than the allotted amount for being labeled as such.
This unhealthy duo (mono and diglycerides) are harmful for your health in that they can cause cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, strokes, and heart disease according to Dr. Dewey, author of Hydrogenated Oils-Silent Killers. They are also inflammatory, raise bad cholesterol levels, and are responsible for obesity in our children leading to chronic illness.
Cheerios is another big industry brand claiming to be heart healthy and helpful for lowering cholesterol, but don’t be fooled. Any food with a label that you read containing mono and diglycerides, no matter what the marketing jingle claims, is in fact going to be the complete opposite. It will very likely wreak havoc on your child’s health.
Here’s the clue: if it says emulsifiers, Monoglycerides, or Diglycerides then you know it contains trans and hydrogenated fats that should be avoided like the plague.
What Exactly is "Calcium Carbonate?"
This is another one of those mysterious ingredients found in the majority of packaged foods that no one seems to know what it is. People don’t tend to question it because it starts with the word "calcium," which is supposed to be good for you, right? So what could be the issue with this Cheerios nutrition label ingredient?
Calcium carbonate is a synthetically isolated form of calcium derived from bones, stones, and mollusks. It’s commonly used in supplements and in most packaged foods as an inorganic salt. This is a problem because if it’s found in the majority of commercial products on supermarket shelves and in restaurants, it’s likely that you are at risk of getting too much synthetic calcium − especially since it’s cumulative.
Calcium overdose leads to a long list of chronic illnesses including: breast cancer, bone cancer, calcification of the arteries, heart attacks, ovarian cysts, gallstones, kidney stones, and colon cancer. This may account for why so many children in America are being diagnosed with diseases associated with old age.
We should be getting our calcium from organic, unprocessed, plant-based foods. Some of those foods include: leafy greens, spirulina, chlorella, whole untoasted sesame seeds, and many more. So play it safe and eat whole, unaltered food.
Trisodium Phosphate is for Cleaning, Not Children's Cereal
You may have used Trisodium Phosphate (aka TSP) to wash your walls before painting them, but did you know that this industrial cleaner is also an ingredient in Cheerios?! Unbelievably, the FDA permits food manufacturers to use small amounts of TSP in processed foods as a "flavor enhancer."
According to the FDA, the limit for how much TSP can safely be consumed daily is around 70mg, but with the thousands of popular packaged and frozen foods on the market containing TSP, the average American could easily consume 500 mg or more in a single day. Trisodium phosphate is highly carcinogenic, neurotoxic, causes reproductive disorders and swelling of the esophagus − to name a few of its side effects.
Think about it... would you take a box of TSP and sprinkle it on your cereal? Of course not. So why does the FDA and General Mills think it's acceptable for parents to unwittingly feed it to their babies!
Are Vitamin E Tocopherols in Cereals Genetically Modified?
Vitamin E is contained in plants, nuts, and grains but is affected by the processing of those sources when used as a preservative. Some companies use synthetic, petroleum-based Tocopherols to preserve their products. These are not well absorbed by the body so they become useless as a nutrient.
Even though General Mills does not specify what type of Vitamin E Tocopherols are used as a preservative, it is likely going to be soy, corn, or cottonseed oil. The majority of these oils are made from genetically-modified crops so it may still be possible you are getting a GMO product even though General Mills is now stating that their original Cheerios are GMO-free.
It is better to ingest cereals in their natural whole grain state as much as possible, or eat nuts and seeds with fresh fruit instead. Buckwheat is a good alternative to wheat because it is more of a seed than a grain and it's gluten free.
Other sources of vitamin E, a necessary nutrient for nerve health and energy, include: avocado, untoasted nuts, unprocessed olives, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, and coconut oil. Flaxseed is also a good source and maintains its integrity during baking.
It is so disheartening to discover the many deceptive practices of "Big Food" companies. Profits definitely take precedence in packaged foods. I know, you just want to buy something healthy for your family to eat that isn’t going to take a lot of time. There are alternatives. "We the people" are starting to taking a stand against the polluters of our environment and body so the real healthy options are becoming more numerous and more affordable.
Finally, how many people consume Cheerios without milk? Most people have a lot of milk with their cereal because once again, milk is deemed to be healthy and very necessary. But the truth is milk is not necessary once you have been weaned from your mother’s breast and today commercial cow’s milk is contaminated with dangerous substances.
The Scary Facts About Conventional Dairy Milk
Most people eat cereal along with milk. I know it’s hard to fathom, but cow’s milk is no longer safe to drink unless you know the source is organic grass-fed. You also want to be sure the cows are not being given hormones to increase milk production or antibiotics to counter the adverse effects of the hormones.
Commercial cow’s milk can be tainted with toxic metals, growth hormone, antibiotics, pus from mastitis, GMOs from animal feed, and many more contaminants unfit for human consumption. These contaminants are carcinogenic, and can contribute to an increased risk of a number of types of cancer. They also affect the gastrointestinal tract causing leaky gut and other digestive disorders.
Milk is also mucous-producing and inflammatory which further compromises the immune system. All these problems don’t add up to a healthy protein or calcium source. You're far better off using nut milks instead.
I know it may be sad to hear all this bad news about one of your favorite cereal brands, but it is better to be informed than sick. I really wish we could trust the FDA and food companies, but the facts make it crystal clear that they care more about their profit margin than how many people are becoming obese, chronically ill, and even dying from over consumption of processed foods.
Nevertheless, I hope I have given you enough information to make better food choices for you and your family. Remember, if you don’t know how to pronounce an ingredient on the label it’s likely the product is better left on the shelf. Choose organic whole foods to get the most nutrients for your body and whenever possible consume them in their natural organic state.