Is That Fake Fruit in Your Cereal?

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Do you start off the day with a big bowl of breakfast cereal? Good choice – if you select the right one. According to a recent study, a breakfast rich in calcium and vitamin D can help boost fat loss. Milk is a good source of calcium and is fortified with vitamin D – and most cereals are vitamin D-fortified these days. But beware of fruit cereals. They may not be a good choice if you’re trying to eat a healthy diet. According to new research from a non-profit organization called the Consumer Wellness Center, some fruit cereals contain “fake fruit”.

Fake Fruit in Cereal?

Does this sound like you? You scan the label on a breakfast cereal box and discover they’ve added your favorite fruits to the box – pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. You add it to your grocery cart with visions of getting an extra dose of antioxidants and a little more flavor. How can you lose?

A lot if your fruit cereal contains “fruit” designed in a laboratory. Sadly, this is what many cereal manufacturers are using. The ingredients? Corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and artificial dyes. The antioxidants are nowhere to be found.

These fake fruit breakfast cereals aren’t just generic, off-label brands. Reputable companies such as Kellogg’s and General Mills are adding fake fruit to their cereals. To make it more confusing, some include a small amount of real fruit and mix it in with a fake version. This allows them to advertise there’s real fruit in their cereal. Tricky, huh?

Fruit in Cereal: Make Your Own Fruit Cereal without Fake Fruit

The best way to get around this issue is to buy a higher-fiber cereal that’s low in sugar and contains no hydrogenated oil – and, of course, no fake fruit. Add your own fresh berries or sliced fruit at home. If you’re pressed for time, use dried fruit instead. Dried fruit isn’t as healthy as fresh, but it’s a better choice than the chemical creations cereal companies are passing off as real.

Another option is to cook oatmeal or quinoa in a slow-cooker overnight and add fresh fruit before serving it in the morning. If you have time, you can even puree apples or berries in the blender and mix it into your hot cereal or top it off with a little fresh fruit juice for flavor.

The bottom line? Don’t be fooled by fruit cereals. Some companies are using the word “fruit” far too loosely.


Consumer Wellness Center

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