General Mills to Reduce Sugar in Cereal

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About time! General Mills announced Wednesday that it plans to reduce the amount of sugar in 10 of their kids’ cereals.

For example, the added sugars in Cocoa Puffs could reportedly be reduced by 25% of the original level and 18% off the current level along with an increase in whole grains and nutrients. Some other cereals that are said to be getting the same treatment are Trix and Lucky Charms.

Last year, Kellogg’s reduced the sugars in some of their cereals such as Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, and Corn Pops, and Post also plans to retune some of their cereals this year as well. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles are due for a makeover, apparently.

I can’t help wondering just how they plan to reduce the sugar while retaining their token sweet flavor. While it’s possible they can probably get by using less and counting on kids not to notice too much, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they’re using some other kind of sweetener.

While sugary, low-fiber cereals aren’t necessarily the best choices, they’re better than a lot of other ready-to-eat foods kids might grab on their way out the door (aka, pop tarts, donuts), especially when consumed with milk. Unlike sugar, kids’ and teenagers’ diets are much lower in milk than they used to be.

Anyone hear about how the dairy industry’s “Raise Your Hand For Chocolate Milk” campaign? I have mixed feelings about it. While it’s true that some kids probably wouldn’t drink pre-sweetened milk and any milk may be better than none, I don’t think we should ascribe that belief to all children. I think this practice of marketing sugary products and other “kid” foods to children should stop. Kids are allowed to drink milk and eat real, whole foods that adults do.

That said, I did just make myself a soy-milk hot chocolate…Once in a while, a treat like that is niceā€”just a tablespoon of a high-quality organic mix that actually has real cocoa powder in it is all you really need to add. It’s the artificial stuff we’re telling our kids they like better than everything else is what I have a problem with.

On the other hand, I think that if schools get rid of chocolate milk, then maybe they should also get rid of sodas and sugary juices. While chocolate milk may not be as great a choice as regular milk, I think it’s usually a better option than a drink that won’t even give you any nutrients (aside from calories) with all that sugar.


Have you seen these ads?

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This controversial new subway ad campaign, aimed at encouraging consumers to choose beverages with less sugar, asks New Yorkers if they’re “pouring on the pounds.” The image depicts human fat flowing from a soda bottle. Tasty.
(Read more here)
On the one hand, I think a little shock value never hurts. On the other, the wording is a little bit over-the-top, in my humble opinion. However, trying to get the message across as succinctly as possible was probably a priority.
I’ve seen a lot of different reactions to this ad ranging from laudatory to condemning, and I have to say, I’m split.
While I’m generally not a fan of scare tactics, that this ad at least offers a suggestion of what to drink instead of sugary beverages is somewhat redeeming. Offering alternatives is key to helping people eat healthier rather than just telling them that what they’re doing is bad. I think too many little battles on obesity target people’s body image, setting the stage for emotional eating that perpetuates the problem.
I’d like to see more out there promoting overall health in general, but a lot of people feel that may not be “aggressive” enough. They may or may not be right. A part of me worries too, about young girls and women who will see the ad and internalize it too much, that it may fuel disordered eating of a different sort. Either way, all I mean is that while wake-up calls and gross-outs will get people’s attention, you’re not going to get very far telling someone they’re a fat slob. You need to encourage them to make healthy choices.
Of course, a lot of people think there needs to be a glaring problem before you actually fix anything. I think that’s the fundamental issue, really. In our country, we don’t focus nearly enough of preventative health and living a healthy life in general.
It’s a precarious balance, I realize, but I think this ad at least makes an attempt at balance, so I’m more or less okay with it. I’m just not looking forward to seeing it on my morning commute.