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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And What About Those Of Us Who Don't Care About The Whole Grain?

As I believe I've mentioned before (for "mentioned", read "bored you with"), I'm a big cereal fan. Love the stuff. I believe I could, in fact, live solely on cereal if I had to (in fact, at times I pretty much have).

You may have noticed lately that Nestle have been bombarding us with (very irritating) adverts about whole grain, and how they are doing us a major favour by adding it too all their cereals. These adverts are annoying on several different levels - from the annoying people proclaiming the delights of whole grain, to the Richard Briers' voice over, to the slogan "building the whole grain nation" which feels like it should be a pun, but which McReadie can find no pun for despite frequent thought.

But the way in which they are most annoying is that they at no point explain why I should care about whole grain. They tell me it's healthy, but they don't tell me why. Yet they expect me to take it on trust that the fact their cereals are now all whole grain is a selling point. And I refuse to! So there! It's like deodorants which state "no alcohol". OK, but why should I care? I'm not drinking the stuff, for crying out loud!

These Nestle ads also state that the taste of the cereals hasn't been affected by the addition of whole grain. I treated this claim with particular suspicion since, in my experience, anything which has had its recipe changed in order to be healthier tastes infinitely worse. To be fair, though, I have recently sampled the newly whole grain Honey Nut Cheerios, and could find no real taste difference (the texture did seem a little different, but I hadn't eaten them in a while, so I could be mistaken).

I am very irritated, though, by the spread to cereal of this current obsession with the health content of foods. I was disgusted to see a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, arguably my favourite cereal, proclaiming that they now contain less salt. If the taste is different, I will be furious. And then, yesterday, I saw a box of Sugar Puffs with a massive banner stating they had dramatically cut the amount of sugar contained therein, with no difference to the taste. I find this claim impossible to believe. Less sugar = bad. As simple as that.

It started me thinking: we need a movement counter to this current health drive. We need manufacturers to start proudly labelling their foods with banners such as - "Three time the previous amount of sugar! Tastes better than ever!" We need supermarket cereal sections labelled: "Rot Your Teeth/No Nutritional Value". We need foods for those of us who, like me, don't care about whole grain, but do care about the right to eat sugary shit for breakfast, lunch and tea. It's my right!

I tell you, I'm not going to take this cereal health nonsense without putting up a fight. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a bowl of cereal.


  • At 1:25 PM, Blogger Fizzwhizz said…

    If I ever meet that woman with the kid who sits in the playground and says "Yeah, wholegrain is a good thing, yup" in that bollocksing irritating way, I'm going to take my honey nut mini shredded wheats and shove them right up her wholegrain ass.

    I personally am with the old lady at the end who says 'it's all things we like anyway' because as a sandal-wearing tofu-muncher I do enjoy wholefoods. But this whole thing is like those Kellogs healthy heart logo things they put on the boxes. Nothing in the product is different, they've just put a big label on it in the hope that consumers will be stupid enough to believe that a big bowl of something that contains more calories than a Mars Bar is somehow providing them with positive health benefits. Also so they can roll out ridiculous pseudo-science mumbo jumbo like 'people who eat wholewheat tend to live longer than those who don't' - yeah, and people who don't eat breakfast cereal for which the ingredients list goes 'wheat, sugar, sugar syrup, honey, glucose syrup, dextrose, maltose, salt, sodium, flavour enhancer (salt), corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, nut extract (0.1%), flavourings, flavour enhancer (sugar)' tend to live even bloody longer.

    I love cereal too. It just drives me mad the way it's marketed as some kind of health food, Special K being a particularly annoying example. Back in my raving days we used to call ketamine* Special K and frankly it was probably better for you than the rice and corn flakes we all know and love.

    Argh. I need my own blog to rant on.

    * a horse tranquilliser that, when taken recreationally, makes you stagger about falling into people on the dancefloor

  • At 7:12 PM, Blogger Barbara L. said…

    I agree with FizzWizz on this one. In the Health and Media class that I teach, my students and I talk a lot about misleading food labels. This new "whole grains" campaign is very suspicious to me.

    In the name of full disclosure, though, I am, as Fizzwhiz describes herself, a "tofu-muncher" who enjoys wholefoods. (Except that I don't actually eat tofu because I am allergic to soy. However, I do like to cook my non-instant organic oatmeal with rice milk, organic raisins, and organic blueberries--and no sugar. Although I am a total chocoholic who eats the stuff everyday, I hate sugar on my oatmeal. It makes the oatmeal too sweet.

    And hi again, McReadie:-)

    Has the Alias finale aired in the UK yet? If so, what did you think?


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