Friday, June 15, 2007

Raising the Cereal Bar?

At first I called it "baby steps," today's news that The Kellogg Co. has adopted new nutritional standards for its products that are marketed to children.

It's a huge step for a company to take, I thought when I first heard the news--a big old company voluntarily making its products healthier. A lot of tinkering will be going on in the old cereal labs, I thought.

So, what are the new "nutritional standards?"

Basically, they set an upper limit of 200 calories per serving maximum, 2 grams or fewer of saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 230 milligrams or fewer of sodium, and 12 grams or fewer of sugar.

How does this compare with some of their currently marketed products?

Well, a pop tart (hot chocolate flavor) has 200 calories, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 mg of sodium and 18 grams of sugar. So basically, the pop tart has to trim only 6 grams of sugar to make the cut. (And this is for one Pop Tart and does anyone really eat just one? Really? You leave the other one in that little foil bag? Not me!)

Froot Loops? 120 calories, .5g saturated fat, 140mg sodium, 13g sugar. Virtually no change.

Rice Krispy Treats? 100 calories, 3.5g saturated fat, 95mg sodium, 10g sugar. Virtually no change.

And on and on it goes. So the crafty folks at Kellogg have made this big media splash about all they are doing for our obese kids while, really, they set the "bar" so low that they barely have to lift a foot to climb over it.

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