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Beware Of This Head Fake: Healthy Cereal That Isn’t.

I’ve always loved cereal and as a child I downed bowls of Golden Grahams for breakfast and sometimes dinner too. When I grew up, I ate Fiber One on top of my yogurt while sitting in my cubicle at work. I thought it was very healthy for my body (because of all that fiber and would help me lose weight), and just didn’t understand why I didn’t look and feel my best after eating it. Thankfully I found much healthier cereal later in life but before I tell you about my favorite kinds, we must discuss what is really going on in the “healthy cereal” industry. 

It’s estimated 94% of us have cereal in the cabinet – but a century ago hardly anyone did. Cereal was the first processed food, making life easier for Americans (and now for people all over the world). Cereal requires no cooking, no skills, and it’s just about as easy as you can get. We want everything to be quick and easy, and this has become an epidemic in this country. This is why cereal has been called the biggest success story of the modern food industry, and as put by author Michael Pollan, “Breakfast cereals in many ways are the archetypal processed food product of modern capitalist food economics”.

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Millions of dollars are spent on advertising cereal every year, and while most of it aggressively targets children, they heavily advertise to adults as well – from Trix “Silly Rabbit” commercials, free prizes, online games (advergames), celebrity endorsements, product placements, and the marketing messages on the box – we are inundated with their marketing messages every day. It’s all done to make us believe that we don’t have time prepare real food for our families and that their vitamin-fortified creations will give us (and our kids) the energy we need to get through a hard day.

But, when you take a hard look at cereal, what is it really?

In reality, the cereal industry is making billions selling us cheap commodities like corn and sugar, mixed with cheap additives like artificial colors, dumped into a colorful box with cartoon characters. Mainstream cereals are so heavily processed that they do not have natural nutrients, that’s why most of them are sprayed with vitamins, minerals, and sometimes fortified with protein. It’s the ultimate fake food.

The marketing messages on the cereal boxes sure sound healthy: “High Fiber”, “Protein”, “Gluten-Free”, “Low Fat”, “All Natural”, “Essential Vitamins” and “Good Source Of (insert vitamin here)”. But, is cereal really good for us or is it just processed junk food? Several “healthy” cereals contain questionable additives that should never be in a healthy breakfast.

Some of the WORST ingredients you’ll find even in “Healthy” cereal:

  • BHT – This preservative has not been proven safe, controversial research links it to cancer, and it’s believed to be an endocrine disruptor that interferes with your hormones. The Environmental Working Group includes BHT on their Dirty Dozen List of Food Additives – making it one of the most controversial ingredients in our food. You’ll find BHT in many cereals including Special K (most varieties), Rice Chex, Oatmeal Squares, Rice Krispees, Life, Fiber One Honey Clusters, Wheaties, and Smart Start. This ingredient isn’t permitted in cereals in Europe, so these brands reformulate their cereals to sell them legally overseas. NOTE: Hopefully this ingredient will be history soon. Sign my petition here asking Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove BHT from all cereals and ask them to provide us with a date!
  • Artificial Colors – Derived from petroleum and linked to several health issues, including allergies and hyperactivity in children. This is why Europe requires any food containing these dyes to carry the warning label: “May Have an Adverse Effect on Activity and Attention in Children.” You’ll find artificial colors in a lot of cereals targeting kids like Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks, and Fruity Cheerios, but even in cereals you’d never expect like Life Cereal, Kellogg’s Smart Start, and Special K Fruit & Yogurt.
  • Genetically modified (GMO) ingredients – I do everything in my power to avoid GMOs. That’s because these ingredients are not required to undergo any FDA premarket safety assessments, increase pesticide and herbicide use, and may be threatening food availability while increasing food costs. Perhaps most importantly, as put by the respected scientists at Consumer Reports, “There is global scientific agreement that genetic engineering has the potential to introduce allergens and toxins in food crops, to change the nutritional value, and to create other unintended changes that may affect human health”. The growing of these crops needs to stop and they definitely shouldn’t be in our food! These major cereal brands admit to “likely” using GMO ingredients:

Kellogg’s: “Since the majority of our ingredients come from U.S. farms and GM crops have been grown in the U.S. for the past 20 years, our foods likely include ingredients derived from GM crops in the same proportion that they occur in the U.S. food supply.” – via email, February 2015. NOTE: Kellogg’s has spent over $1.8 million to fight GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.

General Mills: “Because U.S. farmers use GM seed to grow certain crops, 70 percent of foods on U.S. grocery store shelves likely contain GMO ingredients. As a result, if an American food or beverage product lists corn, soy, canola, cottonseed or beet sugar as an ingredient – and if it’s not organic – it likely contains GMOs.” – via their website, February 2015. NOTE: General Mills has spent over $3.6 million to fight GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.

Quaker: We do not require or exclude the use of these ingredients, so we don’t require our suppliers to provide this information. As a result, we cannot give you a definitive yes or no answer. That said, we’re glad for the chance to provide some clarification about genetically modified ingredients. When it comes to safety, the FDA has determined that foods developed through this process are no different than foods developed by traditional plant breeding. And in fact they conclude that these Genetically Modified foods don’t differ from other foods in any meaningful way. Finally, all of our products (worldwide) comply with all applicable food laws and labeling requirements. Quaker relies on and supports the regulatory agencies charged with safeguarding our food supply when sourcing ingredients for our products.” – via email, February 2015. NOTE: Quaker’s parent company, Pepsico, has spent over $8.8 million to fight GMO labeling initiatives in the U.S.

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You’ll likely find these GMO ingredients in mainstream cereals:

  1. GMO sugars – Such as beet sugar, fructose, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, dextrose. At least one of these sugars is in most cereals including Wheaties, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Mueslix.
  2. GMO corn – Most of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist pesticides, and is itself registered as a pesticide with the EPA. Testing by Consumer Reports last year found GMOs in several cereals made from corn: Corn Chex, Kix, Trix, Froot Loops, Cocoa Puffs, and Life cereal.
  3. GMO vegetable oils – As found in Bear Naked Granola (owned by Kellogg’s), Apple Cinnamon Chex, Smart Start, Apple Jacks and Berry Berry Kix. 
  4. Synthetic Vitamins – All those wonderful vitamins that you’re ingesting in your cereal probably aren’t natural, and just lab-created vitamins made from a variety of sources like coal tar, petroleum or GMOs. This is why some vitamins disappeared from Cheerios and Grape Nuts when they received non-GMO project verification. These vitamins aren’t believed to be absorbed by your body as well as natural vitamins that you get from food. Recent testing by the EWG found too many vitamins and minerals in some vitamin-fortified cereals, in seriously dangerous levels – especially for kids. You’ll find synthetic vitamins in fortified cereals, but especially in Total, Wheaties Fuel, and Product 19.
  5. Artificial Sweeteners – They are low calorie, but they may slow down your metabolism and “train” you to crave sweets. Look for aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium on the label. These lower the total amount of “calories” and “sugars” listed on the nutrition fact label so they’re sometimes found in cereals marketed as healthy like Special K Protein and Fiber One.

You’ll also want to watch out for “non-GMO” cereals like those made by Kashi that contain several ingredients that were likely extracted with the neurotoxin hexane (and may contain residues), such as soy protein isolate and defatted soy grits. Kashi also uses canola oil which is processed to death and not the most nutritious form of fat.

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One cereal that really gets me fired up is Froot Loops.

Did you know Froot Loops is now considered one of Kellogg’s Top 5 cereals? Millions of Americans feed this to their kids. The problem with Froot Loops is they are the perfect example of the alarming double-standard in the quality of food that we get here in the U.S. versus other countries. The ingredients in the U.S. include partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, BHT and several artificial colors: Blue no. 1, Red no. 40, Blue no. 2, Yellow no. 6. In Europe, Kellogg’s doesn’t want to slap a warning label on Froot Loops, so they reformulated it with natural colors derived from spinach, carrots, blackcurrent, and paprika to sell in the European market. They also removed partially hydrogenated oils (linked to up to 7,000 deaths per year) and BHT for our friends overseas. If that’s not reason enough to never buy Froot Loops again, GMO Free USA recently tested it and found 100% of the corn in Froot Loops is GMO and contained “significant levels” of the toxic pesticide glyphosate

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If you love cereal, here’s how to pick the most nutritious ones:

Keep in mind that just because a cereal is labeled non-GMO or organic, it may not be made with nutritious ingredients – you still want to read those ingredient lists! Look for those that don’t contain any of those unhealthy ingredients mentioned in this post, and choose cereals that are minimally processed and made with real food: seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. Also don’t fall for the “Natural” label as those can still contain GMOs, loads of additives and synthetic pesticide residues.

My favorite packaged cereals:

2 Moms In The Raw Cereal – This grain-free cereal is full of healthy fruit and nuts like almonds, walnuts, bananas, coconut, and dates.

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cereal – The grains in this cereal are whole and sprouted, so they are easier for your body to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar like flour-based cereal grains do. My favorite is their cinnamon raisin flavor. 

One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps or Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal:  Either of these make an excellent replacement for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, and are BHT-free

Qi’a Superfood Cereals – I love these blends of whole ingredients like buckwheat groats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, dried cranberries, and almonds. This cereal is delicious mixed with organic yogurt and fruit.

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola – Comes in 4 different flavors: original, cranberry pecan, pumpkin fig, and blueberry hemp, made with healthy ingredients like quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, and raw virgin coconut oil.

Chiarezza Cereal, Almighty Mango Goji Cereal – Made from organic chia, hemp seeds, mango, buckwheat, banana flakes, and goji berries. As there are chia seeds in this one, you can also make a yummy pudding by pouring nut milk over it and letting it sit in the fridge for about 25 minutes.

Recipes:

Homemade Granola – It’s easy to stay far away from store-bought granola filled with refined sugar, inflammatory oils, and flavors, because granola is so easy to make at home. My recipe is made with oats, raw pistachios, goji berries and coconut, but it’s very flexible and you can easily substitute your favorite ingredients.

Parfait Porridge – I regularly make this recipe and like to make several at once to keep in the fridge for a few days. My porridge is made with raw oat groats (which contain more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than processed steel cut, rolled or instant oats), fresh or frozen fruit, chia seeds and nut milk. It’s incredibly refreshing and healthy – it’s cereal on the go!

If you know someone in your household still eating unhealthy cereal everyday, please share this post with them! Once they know this information, they can’t go back.

Xo,

Vani 

P.S. In my #1 best selling book The Food Babe Way – I teach you even more ways you can break free from the hidden toxins in your food, lose weight, look years younger and get healthy in just 21 days. In my 2nd book, Feeding You Lies, I blow the lid off of the lies we’ve been fed about the food we eat – lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science we base our food choices on. And, my first cookbook, Food Babe Kitchen, contains over 100 mouthwatering recipes to show you how delicious and simple it is to eat healthy, easy, real food. Available anywhere books are sold.

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176 responses to “Beware Of This Head Fake: Healthy Cereal That Isn’t.

  1. One common thread with many grain foods is glyphosate (round-up) . There are scant few research papers on harm A. Smasel was one of the only papers on the web a few years ago .This paper has undeniable proof of the harm . I think pharming has many dangers to all of us ……Cerial Killers

  2. A good strategy to wean off cereal altogether is just get a box of the better stuff that Vani recommends, and eat it a few times a week as a dessert. This will bring home the point that cereal is not good for you, it is still a dead “food-like” product. The grains and sweetening products spike blood sugar high and it falls back quickly, leaving the person hungry again and looking for a snack before lunch. Eggs, bacon, sausage. Those are better choices. And I don’t mean MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS!! That’s another investigation!

    1. And if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, instead of eggs, bacon and sausage..whole fruit is a great breakfast option! Or else chia seed pudding made with nut milks or some oatmeal. =o)

  3. Great job Vani. I get tired and angry seeing all the commercials on TV boasting about how “healthy” these cereals are. You can pretty much write-off ANY food advertised on TV anyway…..
    I noticed you did not include NATURE’S PATH cereals on your list. They are all organic, GMO-verified, and last I knew – one of the “good guys”.
    Thanks for all the hard work you do!

    1. i was looking for this cereal on your list too. The Mesa cereal is gluten free too. please share anything we should know about it!

      1. I only buy Nature’s path cereal, toaster pastries and waffles… I’ll explore some of her recommended ones

    2. From what I’ve seen you have to read the ingredients on Natures Path very closely. Most have added sugar and many have “natural vanilla flavor”. Been meaning to call to see if this is Castorium.

  4. How can the Kashi cereal be approved by the Non-GMO Project when it has GMO ingredients? I have seen other products with this seal that still have questionable ingredients. I don’t understand.

    1. I have questioned the same thing Erin. I was surprised by a list I saw awhile back of Non-GMO Verified products and companies. Maybe Vani can answer that one …

    2. Some Kaschi cereals are organic (and supposedly non-GMO) while others are not. There are a few companies like that which walk both sides of the organic aisle. Annie’s was another one. Kettle Chips is another. Perhaps that is the discrepancy.

      1. Yeah, organic by definition means non-GMO so that’s another reason I don’t know how they can get away with it!

      2. Much of the Kashi products I have seen of late do not have the non GMO labeling on them, and allot of them that used to be labeled organic, I have noticed are not so any longer…not sure what is up with the Kashi line but they don’t seem to be going in a healthy direction. Anyone know if they were bought out in the last year or so? that would explain the changes i have see. Same thing happened with Berts Bees a few years back, it was subtle so people didn’t notice it so much.

      3. To Cindy: Kaschi is owned by Kelloggs last I heard which qualifies them as a Traitor Organic brand meaning their parent company, Kelloggs, paid lots of money to fight against Our Right to Know what’s in our food in the last few elections to get GMOs labeled. Yet, Kelloggs is still selling Kaschi to the unsuspecting organic crowd and making money off them to use to fight against our right to know. That makes them a Traitor Organic brand and should be boycotted at all costs.

        Boycott Kelloggs and General Mills (Kaschi and Cascadian Farms, as well as other organic brands).

      4. You know that Kashi is owned by Kellogg’s. That’s why I don’t buy any of their Organic products. I stick with Nature’s Path.

    3. Erin, it’s a really simple explanation. Everything we eat is pretty much “genetically modified”. Even if it wasn’t done in a lab, plants have been having sex with each other since the beginning of time. Yet, by some miracle, the human race has survived!!!

      1. Gary, you’re not seriously comparing GMOs to cross breeding and hybridization? They are completely different.

      2. As others better than I have noted, hybridization would likely have taken millions of years to include genes from viruses, bacteria, and insecticides. In the meantime, humans would have had plenty of time to adapt. Even hybridization gives ample time for humans and animals to adapt because hybridization works quite slowly.

        In the case of GMOs, these short-sighted gene-meddlers are randomly changing key components of our food supply in less than a generation giving us no time to adapt. Fruit flies maybe, but even rats and pigs and cows aren’t keeping up, and they progenerate much faster than we do.

        On top of that, they are limiting the food supply to one variety of each type of crop. If any disease takes hold, it will wipe out an entire commodity due to so little variation. Variation is what keeps diseases at bay. And if that variation is similar across different crops, such as insecticide in both corn and soy, a single crop disease could wipe out multiple commodities at once.

        There is a HUGE difference between what the Frankensteins at Monsanto are doing and farmers splicing together two apple trees, or selecting seeds from the best crop of corn.

        As for your miracles comment, don’t trust in miracles. The world does not care for your miracles and there won’t be enough of them to save us if the gene merchants of death continue their deadly and disastrous march across humanity. Thankfully, other countries are stepping up to stop these assaults.

        Yes, I take it this seriously.

      3. You are grasping at straws. This statement can’t even be backed up. “More people have died of peanut and other allergies than will ever die of GMO foods. ” You have no idea how many people will die of GMO foods, because they aren’t labeled (so tracking is nearly impossible) and Monsanto disputes any and all research that sheds any negative light.

        The fact of the matter is that we don’t need GMOs to feed the world. Even the World Health Organization says the same.

        As for your comment on nature, give it a rest. Nature doesn’t care for any of us; the world doesn’t either. However, while changes can wreak havoc, nature doesn’t change as readily or rapidly as you purport it to. Sure, a volcano can suddenly erupt or a flood quickly inundate the surroundings or even a comet randomly strike somewhere.

        As for genetic mutations, they just don’t happen like you suggest. Natural selection determines who/what procreates. If we all started in Africa, how do blondes exist? Perhaps in the snow laden northern climes, hairless blondes were better able to blend in to the snowy surroundings better than their darker peers. Still took many generations for that change to take effect.

        As for people tinkering with genetics, read up on it. What they are doing and how they are doing it isn’t a 100% sure thing. They are striking many random genes in addition to the couple they think they want to change. However, how might those errant changes alter the food content? Monsanto doesn’t even know. Even if they were perfect and changed exactly what they wanted, how might those genes affect other parts of the plant? Monsanto doesn’t know that either.

        It still comes down to Monsanto changing genetics faster than we can adapt. It’s already being suggested that the genetics of the plants they are tinkering with are changing the capability and the quality of the reproduction capability of those eating it. Just what do we do if in 10 years of eating nothing but GMOs we find the human race has been sterilized? Sure, the GMOs didn’t kill anyone, yet humanity still died out. That’s a little far fetched, but so are many of your statements.

        BTW, as to your peanut statement, there are more peanut allergies today than there were 50 years ago. And people are eating many more GMOs at younger ages than ever before. Is that just a coincidence? Maybe not.

      4. The FACT is that, with all the GMO out there, not a single person has died directly because of it. But thousands of people die every year, due to allergies. If there was a way that we could genetically modifiy nuts, peanuts, etc. In order to remove the offending protein, then we would be saving thousands of lives….and a lot of kids. I’m not sure why anyone would be against this.

        The theoretical dangers of long-term GMO consumptions have never been scientifically proven. But like anything, the risk isn’t zero. But it’s infinitelely small. So small that the meteor that you mention has more chances of killing us all.
        The major risk I see, is the improperly engineered crops that encourage the use of more pesticides…but then again, these are batch tested and there are many studies that prove that levels of pesticides are no higher then non-GMO. But as far as the risk due to an new protein formed by GMO, I have a hard time understanding the issue. It’s just protein in the end. If you can think of a doomsday scenario where everyone will be infertile one day, why can’t you think of a rosier scenario that some rogue protein in a GMO crop can cure diseases, or at least cure pessimism? Look I don’t work for Monsanto and I don’t work either the food nor the chemical industry. But I eat healthy and I strenght train religiously. That means, lots of clean protein, no refined carbs, NO sugar at all (the only sugar I get is from fruits, and I limit those too). I also eat tons of veggies, and plenty of good fats from olive oil, avocados and nut butters. I avoid processed fats altogether, and never eat anything fried. I try to avoid “organic”, not because of the cost (I can afford it), but because they taste horrible in many cases, and go bad quickly. I don’t worry about preservatives, becauese they are proven to be safe. I don’t worry about artificial sweeteners in my protein shakes….they have been proven to be ultra safe. I don’t worry about supplementing with creatine, because in over 300 studies, it has been proven to be ultra safe. I also certainly don’t care if my oatmeal is GMO or not. That basically makes my point. I am very picky about what I eat, but I’m picky about the right things in my opinion. I find that all this organic GMO issue takes the focus of what’s really important in nutrition…and that is to eat balanced meals, tons of veggies and fruits, proper calorie intake and exercise. You may not be one of those, but many will blame GMO a for all their problems while never getting off the couch. My six pack and abundant energy at 43 years old, is a decent proof for me that I’m doing just fine with GMO, non-organics 🙂

    4. Organic is supposed to mean non-GMO. However, there is no test for GMO when submitting for the USDA Organic certification, believe it or not. So, GMOs could slip in. Not likely, but possible.

      However, if you read the organic rules, GMO crops can be sold as organic if there is insufficient organic products available to sell as organic. Which seriously sucks. If there isn’t enough, there should just be none sold. And we decide if we want to chance the conventional, possibly GMO variety, or switch to different produce, IMHO.

      1. Indie,

        Farmers experiementing with hybridization has the potential to be more dangerous, because they do no testing. Plants could produce allergens in this case.

        With GMO, all they’re doing is manipulating a small part of the genetic material. They then rest-test the chemical constituents of the produce to make sure that they it is the same as the original. Genetic material is basically protein, your body won’t know the difference between protein from a GMO plant vs. one that happened by course of nature. The dna is quickly broken up into amino acids, their only effect would be the chemical components in the plant, which are tested…using a spectrometer…something a farmer that cross breeds does not have access to, and wouldn’t know how to use. You may be thinking, “What about changes in the plant?”, well, once again, they are tested for this. But let me add the following, cooking, ripening, mixing wih other ingredients while cooking, etc. Will create thousands of new compounds not found in the original plant. Depending on temperature, cooking method, etc. THOUSANDS! Not the one or two minor differences that a GMO product will have! As for your comment on “natural evolution”, that’s where I start getting really serious 🙂
        Nature does NOT always do a very good job of adaptation, and in some cases, too good of a job. Let’s take allergies for example. More people have died of peanut and other allergies than will ever die of GMO foods. Nature did a poor job of adapting. Celiac disease, once again…nature didn’t do so well with adapting us to gluten. Production of Conjugated Linoic Acid in humans….nature stopped us from producing this because we were eating cows that had tons of CLA. Nature adapted too quickly? How about lactose intolerance? I suggest you stop having dairy for 2 weeks, and then drink some milk. You’ll see that you will have major issues, because your body will stop producing Lactase, which is needed to digest lactose. Nature overcompensated in this case. My point is, nature is far, far from perfect. Evolution includes tons of growing pains. I would rather trust a spectrometer to tell me exactly what’s in my banana, than someone who cross bred two types of “natural” bananas and has no idea what’s now in the banana. But hey, it’s organic and GMO-free, gluten-free, etc…so it must be good, right?

  5. I love your blog. However, these cereals that you mentioned are extremely hard to find for most people (including myself) at the grocery store. I don’t always want to or gave the time to go to Whole Foods.

    So, I’d love to see more common foods that are more accessible that can either be eaten for breakfast (not cereal) or that are cereals that I don’t have to order online. Convenience is one of the biggest factors here that we need to address. I agree that we need more education and GMO labeling. Policy and environmental change are the biggest factors in the fight against obesity and the fight to protect our food supply and bodies. I support your mission. But, until we get the policy change what are some more foods that are accessible to everyone that we can include in our diet.

    I am a dietitian in the anti-hunger field and specialize in weight management. I have a blog I just began about the healing powers of plant foods called turnip-thebeet.blogspot.com I’d love to work on a post for you that would help find some more easily accessible non-gmo foods that are whole and healthy. What about post Grape Nuts?

    1. Amanda, does your grocery store have a health food section–even a small one? Look there to find Ezekiel cereal. I’m not sure about the other brands though. Incidentally, regarding the comments above, I didn’t know microwaves were on the no-no list. Hmmm.

      1. Thank you for your comment-josette.Yes, my grocery store has a health section( a very small one )but they don’t carry any of the cereals above. I often travel to go to another one. But, I guess my point is lets make it easier in t direct people to better foods that they don’t have to cook or travel far to get. I’m not sure it’s realiatuc for everyone to have access to even a grocery store. But, really that’s a whole entirely new topic that would be addressed with policy and other grassroots efforts pertaining to food access.

        I was just thinking if some simpler easier ideas like-how to look fo non-o labeling and read ingredients so that you can do the best at the market nearest you. Or, simple suggestions-like oatmeal or smoothies. Or, other things to purchase that are easier to find. That’s why I suggested Grape Nuts. I like to try them warm like oatmeal, with fruit and a touch of honey. Just something more realistic that still meets high nutrition standards.

      1. ablesq, I thought so too, but Grape Nuts recently got their Non GMO certification. I think it’s the only cereal in the regular isle.

      2. There are only four ingredients:
        Whole grain wheat, malted barley flour, salt and dried yeast.

        Cereals are required to be fortified with vitamins and minerals-so it has those too. That is it. And, you can find it most anywhere.

    2. I was surprised, but it does appear that Post has made a version of Grape Nuts without GMOs. When I saw wheat was the primary ingredient, I suspected it could be so. Wheat is the only major crop commodity that has not been GMO’ed, though Monsanto and others have tried. Supposedly, Japan/China refuses to buy GMO wheat, so the farmers have successfully kept GMOs out of wheat. However, the GMO companies are chomping at the bit. A lawsuit last year or the year before by farmers in Washington? sued Monsanto for GMO wheat that “escaped” into nearby non-GMO wheat fields. Anyway, if we don’t stop GMOs soon, wheat may succumb.

      Still, if you want healthy, cereals made with pesticide/herbicide residues are not that much better alternative. While GMOs should be avoided, people should spend their money on eating healthy instead of spending their money on fixing food-related diseases that arise in themselves and their children. Especially give your kids a chance to grow up eating like their grandparents did.

    3. You can find the mentioned products and lots of other healthy items at iherb.com free delivery and you can use a coupon your first time shopping. It’s cheaper than Whole Foods and other grocery stores.

  6. What about Kashi’s 7 Whole Grain Puffs? Anyone know?

    Food Babe, I LOVE your granola recipe. I make homemade granola a few times a month!

    1. Kashi is owned by Kelloggs i.e. “BIG Food”. If everyone would boycott these products; then we would see some positive change. Until then, as long as everyone is buying them – they will just keep on doing what they’re doing.

      1. I don’t follow your logic…

        Why can’t large food companies produce a number of products, under a number of brands which cater to different segments of the population. Some people buy the GM branded products and some buy the organic branded products but why should it matter if it’s coming from the same umbrella/parent company?

        Companies produce what the market demands… if people want cheap and cheerful products, companies make them. If people want organic, non-GMO etc products, companies make them too.

      2. to FoodFoodGirl:
        They changed the ingredients without letting their consumers know. That is what this issue is really all about: transparency. They were selling us one thing, corn for example, then they modified the corn genetically, then they swapped the genetically modified corn for the regular, or real, corn without saying a word to consumers. We were no longer buying what we thought we were buying.

        Then, it turned out that GMO ingredients aren’t the same as the originals. There is a difference, and it can be hazardous to long-term health.

        So, if you continue buying from a company that is fighting against your right to safe food, then you are sleeping with the enemy, so to speak. You’re giving them the money to continue delivering bad food products. Sure, the organic products you’re buying are better for you than their GMO stuff, but you’re still supporting their policy of hiding ingredients.

    2. Kashi uses GMO soy as part of their 7 grains standard mix so, I’m guessing it’s in there. I used to love go lean crunch and could never figure out why I got so bloated after eating it.

      1. I dont see GMO soy or GMO in Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal. Assuming it passes the test. ( It’s one of my fav. Plz tell me its good 🙂 ….. )

      2. Kashi GoLean contains the following ingredients that are most likely GMO.
        Soy grits (first ingredient), cane syrup, yellow corn meal, yellow corn flour, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate,
        We can’t no for sure because there are no labeling laws yet, however, soy, corn and sugar beets are among the crops that are about 90% GMO. Kashi is not Non-GMO project certified.

  7. Awesome job! I always like to hear about the things these food companies are already doing in other countries, where they’re pressured to do the right thing, if they want to do business there. Come on FDA! Protect America’s cereal eating children NOW! Thank you Vani.

  8. Love to see the public becoming aware. The labelling and marketing techniques are so misleading. And the use of celebrities to endorse this unhealthy garbage makes my tummy turn. Sharing, sharing, sharing! Keep up the good work.

  9. I’m Irish but spent last summer in the US. We couldn’t get over how sweet all the cereals and cereal bars tasted in comparison to the Irish ones! Even taking the same brand e.g. Multigrain Cheerios that I used to eat at home, I couldn’t eat the American ones because they literally tasted like pure sugar!

  10. What about us who live out in the country. Only grocery store within 30 miles is Winn Dixie….they carry NONE of the suggested substitutions. Who wants to order cereal online. So disappointed. I always thought kashi was healthy. 🙁

    1. Anyway you look at it, cereal is not healthy. You can buy organic oatmeal and this is a better choice than these cereals, even organic ones often leave one feeling sluggish later. We all thought Kashi was “healthy”. Then, I heard that it was made with GMO ingredients. Go for porridge, quinoa, or oatmeal. I order many things on line and I am near whole foods and another health food store, but they are both expensive. Ordering online isn’t so bad. It’s like Christmas when your package arrives 😉

  11. Hi Vani, congratulations and thank you for your book, which I bought just as soon as it was released! It is just staggeringly revelatory, and now I understand why my weight and metabolism changed so drastically after moving to the US from India — I’ve remained vegetarian but added up to 70 percent more boxed and processed foods to my diet.
    But the main reason for my writing this today is to clue you on to a new meme that’s being injected in response to the widespread success of healthy eating guides and shows on Public Television — theyr’e saying eating healthy is a MENTAL DISORDER called ORTHOREXIA NERVOSA !!!! Check it out here. No doubt they’re already developing a pill for it like busy little bees.
    http://www.inquisitr.com/1860459/eating-healthy-is-a-mental-disorder-scientists-say/

  12. I’ve always enjoyed Grape Nuts cereal and their box says that it is GMO free.. Can someone comment if you know whether Grape Nuts is/isn’t bad for you?

    1. Rip Esselstyn recommends that cereal in his books – he’s the son of Dr Esselstyn, an expert on preventing and reversing heart disease. It’s a simple cereal without added oils, etc so they like it. I tried this recipe of Rip’s that uses Grape Nuts in it – pretty good and more filling than just the cereal at times when you want more:
      http://engine2diet.com/recipe/rips-big-bowl/

  13. Aside from the occasional bowl of porridge, the only cereal I eat is Barbara’s Shredded Wheat. It has one ingredient: wheat. No sugar. No additives. Just wheat. I cut up a banana for the minimal sweetness I like.

  14. Watch out!
    Cereals that are non-gmo can still be sprayed with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up that is sprayed on GMO crops. Farmers are using glyphosate as a dessicant to dry out the leaves of crops before harvesting and also to dry out grains, beans, peas & others before they go into storage. This is why I always buy organic grains, cereals, breads & crackers. Glyphosate is also sprayed on sunflowers, potatoes and other root vegetables, so oils, seeds and veggies that are non-GMO can also be contaminated.

  15. Someone needs to do a truly scientific investigation into canola oil. Everyone just takes for granted that it is safe. And while there is a lot of information on the internet that canola oil is bad as well as good for you, I know of no independent study that points one way or the other. I have read that under another name canola oil is used in rat poison, that it made live stock in Great Britain go mad and blind, that it destroys blood cells over time. So even if none of this is true, we have the right to the facts from a creditable source that is free of bias on this subject.

    1. My understanding, so far about canola oil, is that the process in making it is what matters. There are two ways of making canola oils. The cheap way (processing) or the more expensive way (pressing). The processed stuff is really bad for you. It requires all kinds of modifying, albeit cheaper to make. The more expensive way, pressing, uses very little processing and is much better to use.

  16. I commend you for all that you are doing. HOWEVER as a mom of 2 I can tell you my kids want froot loops not something sprouted :(. Maybe next time for those of us with kids you can give us something a little more realistic. Thx!

    1. Try the granola recipes. My kiddos happily made the switch when I let them choose what dried fruit and nuts to add. I think I introduced it as a snack treat in little baggies, then when I offered it as breakfast they thought they were really getting something special!

    2. I’m sure as a mother and a wise consumer, that you would never give your kids fruit loops, ever. This stuff is toxic empty calories. With respect, I think you have to be realistic and realize that you are the boss of your kids 😉 if you give them everything they want, they will always desire non-nutritious sugary stuff. Why not choose oatmeal? You can put bananas, walnuts, fruit, and a little maple syrup on it. They will love it. It takes 6 minutes to make. My Dad forbade us to eat sugary cereals when we were kids, and as a result, we never craved sugary junk. Your body only craves and demands what it becomes accustomed to. So, get your kiddos geared up to eat healthy and tell them that eating Fruit Loops is not an option and never will be in your house.

    3. “My kids want fruit loops, not something sprouted…” Really? Geeeez! I’d be asking myself WHY is that? Is it because as a parent I made the “adult” purchasing decision to put the box in their hands, and the crap food into their mouths? Is it the advertising, the gimmicks in the box, the cartoon characterization of how great it tastes, is it all the sugar and other toxic additives that are sending kids’ nervous systems into a heroin-like addictive frenzy when consumed? If your kids wanted cigarettes, would you cave in to that, too? Be an adult, and teach your children what the ingredients on the labels mean. Better yet, have your children Google those ingredients and prove to you that they are healthy before you allow them to eat them. YOU are the parent, so be the adult for your children.

    4. Its very simplem They only prefer those bad cereals because thats what you’ve always given them. If you don’t introduce bad foods to kids, they wont know any better . I realize that they might still eat bad foods other places but at home they should know you dont purchase it. You probably do the grocery shopping so you’re in charge of what they eat for the most part.

  17. Perfect topic to shed lift on. Although I thought it might be on the ever so decieving organic cereal that’s still unhealthy because othe overheated puffed grains, unhealthy soy oil, and still way too much sugar! Unfurtuately a person in my house who goes unnamed buys Natures Path cereal for the kids and gives it to them a couple times a week. I used to buy Ezekial and make my own “cereal” using soaked/dehydrated nuts and dried fruitbut the kids didn’t except it as a valid substitute of coarse. I just wish sugar woulbe outlawed. Then we could all get healthier and kids couldn’t fight tired parents trying to raise them with a healthy lifestyle.

    1. Could we have a petition to have Nature’s Path remove soy oil and soy lecithin? I wrote to ask people to write to Nature’s Path on twitter. Not sure if they will do it but need more people to do this so they will respond. I stopped eating cereal because don’t want to use pasturized milk. I tried other milk once on cereal but didn’t taste to good. Need to go to a farm to get milk that’s not pasturized but it’s kind of drive and in the winter it’s not the best option especially where I live. Also charge quite a bit for it. Also we need to write to Clif Bars. I love that bad ingredients are being removed from food but even if all bad ingredients get removed. There would still be pesticides in the food. So I don’t think if any health conscious people would even buy the food at all. This battle is quite difficult. I see all the toxic food in the store. How can we ever win especially with so many new products still with chemicals. There is more toxic food in the store then healthy. So if all the consumers would buy healthy food in the store left The store shelves would be empty and only the toxic food left. It’s not that people don’t want to buy healthy but there is not enough products on the shelves and not everyone has time to garden. And some people are really poor to the point they live on the streets so what can they do. We need a better way to do this.

  18. I would like to know about Trader Joe’s brand Joe’s Os. That’s what my son likes to eat and it seems pretty OK to me. That’s really the only cold cereal, besides some granola in the health food store bulk bin, that we consume.

  19. You can order a lot of hard to find foods on Amazon.com. It comes fast and it’s easy to do. Comes right to your door.

  20. As I understand it, being a follower of Weston Price, Nourishing Traditions, all cereal except rice, needs to be fermented before being cooked. Are any of the cereals you recommend fermented? If cereals are not fermented first, even if their organic whole grains, they’re still very hard on the human body, & can be harmful.

    Please speak to this important issue.
    Please also give credit to your sources.

  21. The FDA is headed by a former Monsanto Executive. The main job of the FDA is protect Major Food Companies and companies like Merck. Do not expect any protection from the FDA. Just remember that perscription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in the USA after Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke. Monsanto and the Food industry spent over 22 million dollars to prevent GMO labeling in Oregon in 2013 and supporters spent a few hundred dollars and it was defeated 55% to 45%. Labeling GOM’s in food did pass in CN recently.
    Keep the pressure on Food Babe.

    1. Rich, what a conundrum! I love your ironic post. Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer and stroke. Well, let’s examine that. I suppose people wouldn’t need all those drugs if they weren’t inflicted with those illnesses in the first place! More importantly, none of those illnesses have been linked to GMO or non-organic foods. They’ve been linked to too much sugar, too much refined carbohydrates, not enough fruits and vegetables, too many calories, not enough exercise, too much stress, not enough sleep….in short, they’ve been linked to being overweight and metabolic syndrome. The life expectancy in the developed world has skyrocketed while people have been getting sicker and fatter. Why? Because of the FDA. Is the FDA killing people? No, people are killing themselves because they do not eat well. They worry about GMO, organics, additives and pesticides, etc…instead of worrying about real dietary and lifestyle issues. Many more people would be dying if it wasn’t for the FDA. But we love to blame others for our lifestyle don’t we?

  22. Not all grocery stores carry those cereals and not to mention most kids won’t go from eating Froot Loops to the healthy cereals you recommend. Any recommendations for people who need to take baby steps?

    1. Why not give the kiddos some porridge, or oatmeal, with some fruit and a dash of maple syrup? This would be a good alternative to cereals. Btw, some people recommend granola, but almost all granola is just not healthy. I’m old school and my dad used to say, “well, if you don’t eat it, you’ll get mighty hungry”. 😉 I think we try to “cater” to our kids too much. Let them know that this is what’s available and that’s it. Bye bye Fruit Loops!

  23. Yes jackieO, that was my question too why Food Babe did not mention Cascadian Farm organic cereals. I am looking at the fruit and nut granola box on it’s slim side. Listed are: -Without synthetic pesticides-Without genetic engineering (GMOs)-Without chemical fertilizers, etc. What’s not to like? Plus, you can find this at Giant, Safeway and other major supermarkets (at least on the east coast) in their organic aisle or along with the junk cereals. BTW, I just received “The Food Babe Way” from Amazon and I am so excited about your book! Way to Vani!

  24. Someone already asked this but can you please comment on the “Cascadian Farm” organic cereals” ?
    We recently started getting these really hoping these are non-GMO and safe(er) ingredients.

    Thanks and keep-up the good work.

  25. Eat oatmeal made from organic oats some yogurt that she recommended on that list with pure honey this will go much farther than getting ripped off for cereal. Its all garbage ……………

  26. Ugh, makes me sick! So glad you are sharing this info with the world. Now I have to get my husband to read this – he still eats Frosted Flakes and all kinds of crap…. it’s hard to watch! But he is definitely starting to get on the health wagon with me 🙂

  27. Thank you Vani. What about bromine being added to wheat flours to bleach them? This is very dangerous for the thyroid. Is that still being done?

  28. Special K does not have BHT. However, Rice Krispies and Rice Chex do. And Oatmeal Squares has yellow 5 which is enough to make me run away from it. Special K is on the Feingold list. With kids, there are some comprises. Of these cereals, special K is the only one mine get to eat from time to time. (I am dreading St. Pat’s Day since the standard treat at school is Lucky Charms–which I do NOT let my kids eat.) I have one child who reacts unfavorably to petroleum based additives. (All of us react of course, but for her, it is more obvious with eczema, insomnia and UTI symptoms).

  29. * hair pulling* aahhhggg!!! Does anyone else feel like a pariah because they talk about healthy food. It’s like you’re talking about taboo sex acts! With cats. And donkeys. While you’re grandparents watch. At least that’s the reaction I get whenever I bring up what I’ve learned from the “Foodbabe” and Weston A Price and Dr. Mercola and the people’s pharmacy and tons more reputable sources! How can we have dialogue when people close their eyes to what’s being to our children and loved ones and ourselves!! I have radically changed my family’s eating habits (much to my vegetable hating son’s chagrin) and you know what, I’ve lost 30+ lbs and still counting. Doesn’t that speak to the power of food as medicine! And yet I’m constantly being told by my mom and siblings that I ‘take this food thing too seriously’. How else can I take it when we are being fed food that the cockroaches don’t want!! I spend almost all our discretionary money on food now because it’s super expensive to eat this way and there are deep political schism here but “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!”. You know the saying about how children are the future and everything for our children blah, blah, blah that politicians like to bandy about? Well they DO love children. Theirs. Ours can go jump out a window for all they care.

    1. I totally agree. Seems you read the same websites I do. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. As far as the expense of good, healthy, organic whole food — quality vs. quantity is what I always say. If you forego some other things in your life, you can do it. The food that goes in your body should always (as much as possible) be quality; it supplies nutrients to your cells, and can change your genetic expression. It can be one of the most important things you can do to keep healthy now and in the future.

    2. I think that people treat you like a pariah because they’re not interested in your sermons about pseudo science.

  30. What about the “Cascadian Farm” organic cereals? My kids love the Cinnamon & the Honey Almond, are these safe Vani? Please reply & thank you!!

    1. I know you want Vani to rely. Hope you don’t mind. I think they are owned by Kelloggs. You can check Professor Phil Howard’s website on who owns which organic company. I don’t buy them for that reason.

  31. I just want to be clear on one cereal… Special K Protein.

    I’ve heard (from other online experts) this is excellent, and much better for you than Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cereal.

    Can you clarify or evaluate Special K Protein (not the new cinnamon crunch) please?

    Thank you.

  32. Vani, just purchased your book at our local book store, can’t put it down, I am eager to get to the end, thank you for everything u have done to keep us healthy and keep the food industry from killing us, u r the best, I always thought that someone like u will come along to protect us.!!!!

  33. Please folks watch your Trader Joe’s foods! I too used to eat the Trader Joe’s O’s cereal and my kids did too – I was so happy I had found a healthy alternative to Cheerios – but read the ingredients! They’ve changed! They’ve added chemicals – I don’t have a box in front of me right now because I haven’t bought them in about a year since they changed it – Whole Foods 365 brand on the contrary is relatively all healthy every single one… take for example their oatmeal… I used to eat the Trader Joe’s oatmeal but since then it has added so many chemicals now I buy the 365 brand and it’s safe! of course nothing is better than just organic whole oats, you can even make them in your crockpot and in the morning they’re ready for your kids – there are great recipes online maybe you could try them and see how they work for them 🙂

  34. Don’t be hateful when parents state their kids want the sugary crap. Kids watch the commercials and see what their friends eat so of course they are going to want the same stuff. Give the mom’s a break and be kind to them when suggesting they try other alternatives. Don’t tell her she is the MOM and the ADULT…surely she knows that. Lets be kind with our words. Thank you very much.

  35. Wheat, oats, rye, barley, & soy are not healthy for human consumption. They are difficult to digest therefore must be ground into flour in order to pass through our systems, but still create havoc on our intestines. Besides that, they block absorption of essential vitamins & minerals. If you have to eat cereal, its best to stick with organic, non GMO corn, rice, or quinoa only. Pass the cereal aisle & eat fresh foods.

  36. Folks, a convenient breakfast is keeping a stash of boiled eggs and having one in the morning instead of cereal. Make sure they are organic or come from free range chickens. Then your favorite toast with a nut butter. Probably if people drank smoothies, this cereal discussion wouldn’t be necessary. Cereals are SO expensive.

    1. Finally someone that makes sense!! Eggs are full of protein that will get your metabolism going. The cholesterol in the yolk, is the building block for testosterone and growth hormones, that will help you get ripped. The nuts butters are great for energy. Although the toast will have high glycemic index, the effect will be counteracted by the nut butter. Eggs, toast and nut butter. You’ve got your protein, your carbs and your healthy fats! This is better than the crappy “organic”, “non-GMO” stuff that most people think is “healthy eating”. It isn’t. This IS.
      I bet most people here would rather eat “organic sugar cereal”, than a non-organic balanced breakfast.

      Marilyn, thanks!

  37. What about the original cereal, those shredded wheat ‘pillows’ – do they still sell them, and are they real food?
    Remember you eat milk with cereal – and there’s a whole ‘nother ball game. Natural News sells a gizmo that makes nut milks at home much more cheaply.
    I just don’t indulge in cereals at all. I used to years ago eat those pillows with some blond raisins and fresh goat milk once in a while.

  38. Here are some breakfast ideas.

    A cup or more of raw organic buckwheat groats. Soak overnight in water to cover. Add fruit if you like but I like it as is.

    Avocado is filling. Add dressing if you like, cucumber and maybe a tomato.

    Leftovers from dinner such as soup makes a good breakfast.

    Smoothies made from banana, half an avocado, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, 1 T of coconut oil and another fruit such as blueberries, apple, raspberries is a quick delcious breakfast. Add a handful of nuts if you like.

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