Cereal Killers

October 1, 2011

By johnmac

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Many of us start our day with a bowl of cereal, and while it’s quite obvious that cereals consisting of sugar-coated, coloured shapes with sparkly marshmallow bits aren’t good for us, you may be surprised to learn that even some ‘all natural’ whole grain cereals aren’t that good for us either. In fact, most of us eat way too many grain products – especially wheat – which can lead to blood sugar imbalances, weight problems, and inflammation in the body (inflammation is the cause of numerous chronic health issues).

Now, back to the topic of cereals. When you see the word(s) ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ on a box of cereal, what does that mean to you? Many consumers think that it means that the product is made with organic ingredients; however the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are not equal! An organic product should be free from pesticides and genetically modified ingredients. This is NOT the case with ‘natural’ products.

‘Natural’ products can often be contaminated with synthetic, chemical pesticides, many of which are known to be cancer-causing. This is not the case for CERTIFIED organic products…so remember to look for the Canada Organic symbol on packaged good products.

There are no set rules or definitions related to labelling a food as ‘natural’ (….wait a minute…when did we start thinking that we needed to label food as ‘natural’? Something is seriously wrong here folks!). Unfortunately, many of us are misled by this meaningless term that is nothing more than marketing hype. And worst of all, many of these ‘natural’ products are priced higher than certified organic products – another way that manufacturers can ‘trick’ consumers into thinking that products labeled as ‘natural’ are superior. If they cost more, they must be better, right? Wrong!

This ‘natural’ hype is true for any packaged product, so why am I focusing on cereal? It’s because I was recently made aware of a 48 page report entitled ‘Cereal Crimes‘ by the Cornucopia Institute (www.Cornucopia.org). Another reason is that cereals are heavily marketed as a healthy way to start the day – especially ‘natural’ whole grain cereals – and children who are most susceptible to pesticides and genetically modified ingredients are pretty heavy consumers of cereals.

The report exposes some very shocking facts about breakfast cereals – even those boasting an ‘all natural’ claim. Here is an interesting excerpt from the report:

Numerous “natural” products were indeed contaminated with high levels of GE[genetically engineered] ingredients, sometimes as high as 100%: Kashi GoLean,Mother’s Bumpers, Nutritious Living Hi-Lo, and General Mills Kix.

It’s appropriate timing to be learning about the findings of this report – that is, the contamination of cereals with genetically engineered ingredients – as October is Non-GMO Awareness Month (GMO stands for ‘genetically modified organisms’ – it is a term used to refer to anything that has been genetically engineered or modified). If you aren’t sure what the big deal is with genetically modified foods and how they can negatively impact our health, I invite you to read my October 2010 Tip of the Month (in the Tip of the Month Library) and consider this fact (courtesy of www.naturalnews.com who is helping the Cornucopia Institute broadcast their findings):

There is GE contamination in almost everything. Even “non-GMO” food products almost always contain trace levels of GMOs (often between .01% and 0.5%). A test for the mere presence of GMOs is not considered conclusive. What’s important is the level of GMOs in a particular food item. Some of the “natural” items tested by the Cornucopia Institute showed GMO contamination levels between 28% and 100%, which means the key ingredients in those cereals are most definitely genetically engineered from the source (and it’s not just a chance contamination from some other nearby field).

 Surprisingly, several products under brands names typically associated with being healthy, such as Kashi (Kellogs), Mother’s (PepsiCo), Whole Foods and Barbara’s Bakery, contained ‘high levels’ of GMOs.

The good news? One of the shining stars of this investigation was a Canadian company, Nature’s Path. This company’s products are all certified organic, contain no significant GMO contamination and are clearly made with non-GMO ingredients. I was happy to learn that, as of the two boxes of cereal in my pantry, one is made by Nature’s Path (and the other one is also certified organic).  An added bonus with Nature’s Path cereals is that they are typically priced lower than the over-rated ‘all natural’ brands.

Curious to learn more about this research and find out how various brands of cereals tested? Thanks to the Cornucopia Institute, you can:

Knowing that genetically engineered foods can play havoc with our health, wouldn’t it be nice to have them clearly labeled as such so that it would be easier for us to avoid them should we choose to do so?….and we should! You can help make this happen by taking just a minute or two to sign this on-line petition – and share it with others.

http://action.responsibletechnology.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8367

Yours in Health,

Anna

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