Multigrain Cheerios Overboard on the Whole Grain Bandwagon

Everyone loves Cheerios, right? They’re high on the Americana B-list, just below baseball and apple pie. But our beloved, yet somewhat bland, “regular” Cheerios isn’t without black sheep in its family, such as the blasphemous Chocolate Cheerios introduced recently. And what about the heavily advertised Multigrain Cheerios, promoted as perhaps even healthier than regular Cheerios?

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The TV commercial for Multigrain Cheerios probably uses the word “grain” about 20 times, to the point that I don’t ever want to hear the word “grain” again. The entire ad campaign just smells of bandwagon hopping to the worst degree. OK General Mills, we get that there are five grains in MultiGRAIN Cheerios!Health-wise, is it worth the hype? My completely unprofessional opinion is that regular Cheerios are still a better choice. Let’s look at the tale of the tape, shall we?

Regular Cheerios
Calories – 102
Fat – 2g
Sodium – 186mg
Sugar – 1g
Protein – 3g
Glycemic Load – 12

Multigrain Cheerios
Calories – 114
Fat – 1g
Sodium – 207mg
Sugar – 6g
Protein – 2g
Glycemic Load – 15

Also note that the label of Multigrain Cheerios lists the first ingredient as whole-grain corn, while regular Cheerios lists whole-grain oats first. It can be argued that whole-grain corn is less desirable (less “healthy”) than whole-grain oats.

In other words, Multigrain Cheerios is basically a slightly sweeter Cheerios with some lesser grains thrown in.

A few other thoughts on Cheerios:

  • In 2009, General Mills was advised by the FDA that their labeling was marketing Cheerios as a drug by claims of lowering cholesterol by 4% in six weeks. Further, many of the vitamins are synthetic, added in the processing. Now they are promoting Multigrain Cheerios as a weight loss product with slogans like “More Grains, Less You!”
  • Regular oatmeal is probably a healthier choice overall, with a much lower impact on the Glycemic Index.
  • Fresh fruit is even healther.

I enjoy Cheerios on occasion, but I don’t like that they push the envelope on how “healthy” they are. After you’ve finished that bowl of Multigrain Cheerios and feel like you’ve met your healthy quota for the day, just remember all of the fake vitamins, the lesser grains, the higher sugar content, and the healthier alternatives.

It’s not the worst thing in the world, and certainly better than coffee and donuts, but don’t be fooled by the packaging. It’s still just processed, boxed breakfast cereal.

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