I’m rather pleased to see that the FDA is looking at food labels again. This ABC News article focuses on how cereals such as Froot Loops and other types of food are marketed and labeled to appear healthier than they really are.
The focus is on the Smart Choice label, which is supposed to be on nutritious food choices. While they may be fortified with however many vitamins, Froot Loops and other such cereals that focus on appealing to the sweet tooth scarcely qualify as healthy last time I checked.
Must be some new definition of healthy I’m not familiar with.
Admittedly, many healthier cereals may not be so good for you either once you’re done preparing them. I don’t know if the habit is common anymore, but I remember always having a spoonful of sugar spread over my cereal as a kid any time it wasn’t one of the sugary sorts. Wouldn’t eat them any other way back then. Thank goodness my kids haven’t heard of that habit.
My mother told me a while back that when a study was done comparing different kinds of cereals and the way they were really eaten, sometimes the sugary ones would come out ahead in nutritional value just due to how much sugar people would add at home to less sweet cereals. Now this may well have been done when different sweeteners were used, I don’t know, but it’s an interesting tidbit to consider if you still add sugar to your own cereal.
Better yet and potentially cheaper can be to buy oatmeal and have that for breakfast. No worry about artificial colors. You may have the sugar issue going again, depending on your sweet tooth, but you can easily add naturally sweet things such as raisins to make it a bit better. My kids love oatmeal, although they do want more brown sugar or honey in it than I really like to give.
There’s a good side to this kind of labeling, however. It’s a great teaching point for parents about advertising and how you really can’t trust everything you see on a box or on television. It’s a way to teach kids to be more cautious consumers.
It’s so disappointing to me to see how labels are used and abused by manufacturers. I’m with you – Froot Loops is definitely not a ‘Smart Choice’, no matter how many vitamins are added.
As for adding sugar, I’m sure there’s someone out there spooning sugar on top of their Frosted Flakes. The fact that someone else adds extra sugar is hardly material to my choice. I would rather have personal control over the sugar level, than trust that ‘in the end’ I’m ‘probably’ coming out ahead, you know?