Cereals: Poked & Prodded, Wait!

Scott Mowbray is on diet—here’s where it gets scary—according to him, “This diet I’m on has me eating more boxed cereal than I have in years.” Ah! Okay, before I comment. I’ll let him explain some more. From Poked & Prodded:
I have loved cereal since I was knee-high and hold countless memories of corn flakes, malt-flavored Muffets (“the round shredded wheat”), Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and the rare golden fruit of the sacred cereal chalice, Cap’n Crunch. With a big splash of coffee cream and spoonfuls of brown sugar (except on the Cap’n, whose crunch is sweeter than candy corn), it was good fuel for boys. My eldest brother sat across the table, making more noise than a wild boar rooting for grubs in the Tuscan woods. It drove me insane…

…Prowling the aisles now, I see that cereal boxes continue to shrink and prices do not. (General Mills announced a “Right Size, Right Price” box strategy last summer: meaning smaller boxes, similar prices.) Just yesterday I spotted a cute little seven-ounce box of Special K for $3.89, which, as the shelf label pointed out, is $8.89 per pound—a nice price for toasted rice. I am, admittedly, the sort of guy who complains about cereal prices while drinking a $12 thimbleful of obscure Polish vodka made from potatoes (to be clear: not for breakfast), but that is beside the point.
The high cost of this junk is one thing, but Scott, we got to get you off the cereal. Boxed cereals are bad news. They’re not doing your health any favors. Here, check this out. Dr. Fuhrman talks about why boxed cereals should be avoided:
Processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled.
And, despite what super glossy marketing-bolstered boxes might say, breakfast cereals are nutritionally bankrupt; even if they claim to be “enriched.” But don’t take my word for it, here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Take rice for example:
White or "enriched" rice is just as bad as white bread and pasta. It is nutritionally bankrupt. You might as well just eat the Uncle Ben's cardboard box it comes in. Refining removes important factors: fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamin E. So, when you eat grains, eat whole grains.
Scott, we got to get you eating more natural fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts, because these foods hold up well in Americans nutrient-deficient soil. Again, I’ll defer to Dr. Fuhrman. He knows all about this stuff:
Wheat grown on American soil is not a nutrient- dense food to begin with, but then the food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
Contrary to many of the horror stories you hear, our soil is not depleted of nutrients. California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Florida, and other states still have rich, fertile land that produces most of our fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. America provides some of the most nutrient-rich produce in the world.
Not to beat up on you Scott. Glad to see you’re trying to get slim and healthy, but the cereal’s got to go! Come on folks. Head over to Poked & Prodded and encourage Scott to ditch the cereal and have some fresh fruit for breakfast.
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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
lilly - January 25, 2008 1:25 PM

well, fruit is certainly more desirable for breakfast than anything else *i* can think of...but if he's insistent upon eating cereal, he should try Uncle Sam cereal (whole wheat kernels, whole flaxseed, salt, barley malt & some vitamins...no added sugar, at least!) :)

Joey - January 25, 2008 3:14 PM

I could never petition against box cereal, Count Chocula and I have a special connection ... all kidding aside this is certainly some food for thought (no pun intended).

Gerry Pugliese - January 25, 2008 3:56 PM

Hey Joey-

You know, I knew it was you the second I saw "Count Chocula." LOL!

Yes, this is my very own brother, the mayor of Count Chocula town. :)


Help - January 27, 2008 9:56 PM

Could you post more about acne? I'm interested in ETL because I see that when I stick more with the legumes, veggies and fruits that my skin clears up. I would love some motivation that would keep me on track.

amema1 - July 29, 2008 12:42 AM


I would really love to know how well CHEERIOS fits into the Dr. Fuhrman diet.

By and large, I follow the "Eat to Live" plan, but I love cereal. I grew up on Apple Jacks, so I sympathize with the Count Chocula fan above. However, I never eat that junk anymore.

Cheerios is the only cereal out of the hundreds of cereal brands produced by the major companies that looks healthy to me. I eat it with fruit and soy milk every morning. Is this okay by Dr. Fuhrman? Or is there a problem with acrylamides? Or is Cheerios considered too processed or otherwise lacking in nutrients?

It would be great to have some feedback on this from Dr. Fuhrman. I think that a lot of people who believe they are choosing the healthy route are eating Cheerios.


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