Well, at least there is a small step in the right direction by one of the major food suppliers.
Cereal giant General Mills, the producer of many of our kids favorite breakfast foods, has just recently announced that they are going to reduce the sugar content in their products to a lower level.
This is in response to current pressures being applied to all food producers to help fight childhood obesity and the related diseases that come with being overweight.
While this is certainly a small step in the right direction in addressing this ever increasing childhood problem, it falls far short of any real significant change that would be a major help.
What is still in the breakfast cereals other than the one sugar reduction is the real problem.
The company still uses genetically-modified (GM) ingredients and corn syrup, various artifical flavors and colorings – every one of which wreak major damage on your body and its vital systems.
Their announcement by Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills Big G cereal division, in an interview with Reuters Health, said that all General Mills cereals marketed for children under 12 will now contain just 10 grams of sugar or less per serving. This is down from the current level of 11 grams per serving. He said that the company hopes to keep lowering the amount gradually over time to allow customers to get used to the difference and hopefully lessen the chances they might opt for another brand.
The overall problem of their products, actually the products of the entire food industry with few exceptions, lays in the fact that they use highly-refined sugars and GMO foods for everything they make.
The only sugars currently included in their cereals are very highly processed and as such represent a very significant health threat at really any level. There are study after study that has demonstrated the harmful effects these types of sugars have on the body besides their difficulty in being utilized by the body in the first place. We are talking about refined White Sugar, Corn Syrup, High-fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose and Maltodextrin just to name a few.
Most sugar that is used in food products in the U.S. comes from sugar beets because it is cheep and easly produced. BUT 95 percent of sugar beets grown are GM varieties. Not a good thing certainly.
The other items, corn syrup, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin are derived from corn where once again the vast majority is of a GM variety.
The real question that General Mills should be answering is just how soon it is going to actually remove GMO foods and artificial flavors and colors and too highly refined sugars from its products?
Sadly, the answer to that appears to be not any time soon. The company and its shareholders back in 2000 rejected a proposal to actually avoid GM products – even back then serious questions on their safety and possible effects on the body were being raised.
Not only did they do that, but they also rejected labeling proposals that would have at least let the consumer know that the product contained GMO foods and allow them a choice as to whether or not they want to purchase that product.
In fact, any such labeling has been strongly opposed by the entire food industry. Do we really have to guess as to why?
Today, with more and more people concerned with healthy and sustainable food, GMO foods of every kind are coming under more scrutiny and customers are opting out in ever larger numbers.
Major food producers are running scared because they know if they had to label their products with full disclosure, they would suffer a significant drop in their sales volume.
Better to keep the consumer ignorant as possible and hope their media hype gets the kids to ask for their brand because it looks like so much fun at least on TV.
The next item of concern is the large amounts of artificial colors used in their products. All of these colors like yellow # 5 and red # 1, are petroleum-based coloring chemicals that are supposed to be safe for you according to the FDA.
And we all know that the FDA has our best interest in mind – right?
Somehow, the FDA manages to ignore the huge volume of studies done that have linked these artificial colors to attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHA), nervous system disorders, and, yes, even cancer.
So, why then are they still being used when ALL of them could be replaced with natural dyes and colors from plants that would have no detrimental effects? It really is not the cost as in many cases the natural product would only be fractionally more that the artificial chemical.
What then is this reluctance to change?
Also, let’s not forget the artificial chemical based flavors and food preservatives such as butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) which has been linked to allergies, developmental problems, reproductive toxicity and cancer.
As if all of this was not bad enough, there is really very little nutritive value in their products.
Though they have made a small effort to make their products a bit more healthy by being one of the first companies to make their entire cereal line out of "whole grains", the other ingredients are all some sort of processed item or GMO food or artificial additive that does little for the body nutrition wise.
And yes, they add "vitamins and minerals", but once again the wrong type. They are largely synthetic and so do very little good for you.
It is such a shame as naturally derived vitamins and minerals could easily be added for just a little bit more and would actually help.
In reality, if General Mills was honestly concerned over the childhood obesity problem in our country, they would change all of this today and begin to produce a truly healthful and nutritious product that would be good for us to eat.
So, before you throw that next box of breakfast food into the cart, take a moment and look at the ingredients – do you really want your children to wolf them down? Are there any other products that really do have better ingredients and are more healthy on the shelf that you just did not look at?
Take a good look and see, you may be amazed at what you find. And always keep in mind the kids – what is best for them!