They’re Grrreat…big lying weasels

In a national ad campaign, Kellogg claimed that their Frosted Mini-Wheat cereal was “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%.” Now, I’ve got nothing against Frosted Mini-Wheats (though they do taste like sugared bird’s nests), but that claim isn’t actually supported by their research. In court documents, Kellogg states that their own studies showed about an 11% improvement in attention, on average, among children who had Mini-Wheats for breakfast compared to children who had no breakfast at all. That’s right—not only did they lie about the magnitude of the effect, but the ads were especially deceptive because their research didn’t support any special effect of Mini-Wheats over any other cereal, just for Mini-Wheats over nothing at all. It turns out that hungry kids who don’t eat breakfast have trouble concentrating. Imagine that.

In April 2009, Kellogg– without admitting wrongdoing– agreed to stop making this and similar claims about their cereal.

So: encourage your kids to eat a good breakfast, but don’t fall for any ad hype that one cereal is any better than any other. A good breakfast should include some carbs for fast energy, plus a source of fat and/or protein as a longer-lasting energy source for the whole morning. Just about any cereal with milk is fine, or an egg, or peanut butter on toast, or a cheese quesadilla. Even a bird’s nest might just be worth a try.

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2 Comments on “They’re Grrreat…big lying weasels”

  1. Beth Olsson Says:

    I love reading this blog, and now I have a little more insight into why. I thought my husband was the only one to use the term “weasels”. Glad to see he’s in such good company.

    Like

  2. Dr. Roy Says:

    Here’s a somewhat similar story:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/05/12/fda-warns-general-mills-cheerios-is-a-drug/

    The FDA isn’t disputing that the oat grains in Cheerios can have beneficial effects on health, but they’re objecting to the way that Cheerios are being marketed. Essentially, by using language on the packaging that gives specific health claims, Cheerios are being presented as a kind of drug– and to market a new drug, you need FDA approval.

    Meanwhile, ludicrous and unsubstantiated claims of health benefits abound on packages of herbal and alt-health products. They can get away with anything as long as they have that tiny disclaimer that the product isn’t intended to cure, diagnose, or treat any disease. Apparently that statement works like garlic, keeping away any sort of regulatory vampire. But you’d better watch out … no one has any authority to regulate these products. Beware!

    Like


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