Calorie Bargain or Calorie Rip-Off: Are the Claims Really True?
Pages in this Story:
- Hershey's Reserve: Is It Better Than Regular Chocolate?
- "Don't Go Hungry" Campaign by Post Cereal: Will It Fend Off Hunger?
- Special K Protein Water: Does It Really Cut Down on Hunger?
- Diet Coke Plus: Are These Vitamins and Minerals We Need? Is It Worth Drinking?
"Don't Go Hungry" Campaign by Post Cereal: Will It Fend Off Hunger?
Recently, all cereals, even the ones that are basically morning candy, seem to have some sort of health claim. The latest? The campaign for Post Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Grape-Nuts Original, and Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch, claiming that these cereals will prevent you from getting hungry. According to Elisa Zied, MS, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of Feed Your Family Right!, the focus on fiber is a good thing. "You can feel fuller, work toward meeting your daily fiber needs (which many of us do not meet), and incorporate more whole grains (again, most of us do not meet the dietary guidelines calling for three servings of whole grains a day), and this can help you in your weight-management efforts."
However, according to Judith Wurtman, PhD, author of The Serotonin Power Diet (Rodale, 2006), "Fiber does slow down stomach emptying, but for decades the use of fiber-rich cookies, candies, drinks, etc., have been promoted as helping weight loss. If that were really true, everyone who drinks Metamucil would be thin. Is that the case?"
Not only that, but many of these cereals are high in calories and have significant amounts of added sugar. "For example, 1 cup of Post's Honey Nut Shredded Wheat contains 190 calories and 12 grams of sugar (it has a reasonable amount of fiber for a cereal: 4 grams); the second and third ingredients on the label are sugar and honey, which makes this a high-sugar food," says Zied. Still others have even more added sugar.
Zied prefers a cereal that's flakier or puffier, and therefore less caloric. She also recommends no more than about 8 grams of added sugar and prefers even less. "I don't mind when there's a little extra sugar to taste a bit better and make it more appealing to consumers so long as the fiber amount is 5 or more grams" she says.
Bottom line: Pushing fiber and 100 percent whole grains is good, but the extra sugar is not so good. Your best bet from this batch is Post Shredded Wheat Cereal Original, which has no added sugar, no sodium, and about 6 grams of fiber, or Post Original Shredded Wheat 'n Bran, which has only 1 gram of added sugar, no sodium, and 8 grams of fiber.
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