Do you buy Froot Loops? Apple Jacks?

2010 December 30
by Steven R Jones

I was in the grocery store the other day and saw some brightly colored cereal boxes on the end of an aisle. I wanted to see how bad things had gotten so I grabbed a box of Apple jacks and Froot Loops to read the ingredients list. I could not believe it but I invite you to go here and here to see for yourself.

The first ingredient in both these cereals is sugar.

Sugar is first ingredient!Ingredients must be listed in order by quantity, from highest to lowest. The first ingredient in both these cereals is sugar.

Seriously? Part of me wants to blast the company that created these breakfast time travesties. But I think it may be more productive to spend that energy talking to you, the consumer.

If your parents bought you cereals like this when you were a kid, then I/we can forgive them, maybe we will just chalk it up to effective marketing and a parent’s desire to please (or appease) their kids.

I know that reading food labels is not as common a practice as it should be. But knowing that companies can get products like this on our grocery shelves and that they rely on us to be too lazy to read – or to care – should shake you out of your daze. All the recent work that has gone into better food labeling is wasted if you’re not taking the time to factor in simple things like order of ingredients as an indicator of a product’s relative nutritional value. At least glance at the label to see the sheer number of ingredients. How many ingredients do you think should be there? How many do you recognize? How many can you actually pronounce?

I once read that its around the edges of the modern supermarket where you should be shopping, filling your cart with actual food that doesn’t have labels or make sweeping claims, things like fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish.  Ha, if only it were that easy. I’ll be back shortly with why that’s not as easy as it sounds.

In the meantime, please help spread the word about the ‘Loops, the ‘Jacks, and all those fake food products. Shame on Kellogg’s for promoting sugar for breakfast. But we’re all a little smarter now, we’re on to you — shame on us if we do not change our buying habits. Let’s help each other become better shoppers and healthier eaters.

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