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The Real Story About Cereal

I was disappointed to read author Michael Ruhlman’s column in the Washington Post on Tuesday in which he makes claims about cereal that are not backed by sound science, nor based on what people truly eat in the morning.

The reality is that people are overwhelmed with messages about what to eat, including idealistic and restrictive advice from all corners of the internet. The misinformation in Mr. Ruhlman’s column reinforces this confusion and is a disservice to Americans trying to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Our cereals provide positive nutrition

Low in calories and nutrient-dense, cereal is one of the best breakfast choices available. A serving of cereal and a half-cup of skim milk can provide protein and four nutrients most people don’t get enough of: fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium. That same meal is also just 152 calories while other common breakfast food choices, such as a bagel with cream cheese or a meal of eggs, bacon and toast each have more than double the calories and saturated fat.

Studies show that children who eat cereal in the morning tend to weigh less and have improved nutrient intakes. That’s why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans acknowledge that fortified foods, like cereal with vitamins, are a good way to help people get the nutrients needed to support a healthy lifestyle.

Food companies have an important role to play in giving people more of what they want and need in their foods, and we’re doing just that. Today, for example, we offer more than 20 cereals that provide a good source of protein when eaten with a half-cup of milk. At the same time, more than 90 percent of our cereals now have 10g or less of sugar per 30g serving – a commitment we achieved four years ahead of schedule.

Our cereals are simple

Another point Mr. Ruhlman gets wrong is how cereal is made. Our cereals are quite simple. Most of them start with wholesome grains, like wheat berries, rice and corn that are cooked with a handful of ingredients, and fortified with vitamins and minerals to help ensure a wholesome start to the day.

Our Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, for example, are cracked kernels of corn that are cooked with a lightly sweetened malt flavoring, rolled thin and toasted.

And our Frosted Mini-Wheats start as whole-wheat berries that are cooked, shredded into layers, cut into squares and toasted to be crispy before being frosted for a little sweetness. That’s it.

In trying to sell his book, Mr. Ruhlman sold the American consumer short on facts. The bottom line is that cereal helps fill nutrient gaps and can drive consumption of a balanced breakfast with milk and fruit. It is convenient, accessible, versatile and simple, offering a wide range of options to meet people’s needs and how they really eat.

You can find out more about the goodness of our foods at OpenForBreakfast.com.