Grain of Truth

Memo to Nestlé. You ain't fooling me with your Whole Grain shit.

We are being bombarded with adverts at the moment about how Nestle cereals now contain whole grain. Old family favourites like Cheerios, Shreddies and Fitnesse have been rejigged to add this wholesome goodness, involving "massive R&D resources and major changes… all while maintaining taste appeal". Well thank you for your hard work, Nestle! Cynical folks might think you're just capitalising on the current Whole Grain hype and desperate to make consumers think your cereals are healthy enough to keep buying, but I know it's because you care about us so much that you would put in all that effort to give us the grain.

Yeah right. Cheerios do contain whole grains, but they also contain a whole lot of other shite that maintains that precious "taste appeal":

Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Whole Grain Barley, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Rice, Corn Starch, Refiner’s Syrup, Corn Bran, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Colour, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Trisodium Phosphate, Monoglycerides, Tocopherols, Vitamins & Minerals: Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (vitamin B6) Folacin, Iron.

Whilever wholegrain is the new nutritrional wave the media choses to ride upon, companies are going to keep slapping it on their labels. It's all the rage in the States too, with Renee reporting on the new (baked with) 100% Whole Grain Chips Ahoy! Still loaded with fat and sugar with only marginally less calories than the original, these cookies were launched AT AN OBESITY CONFERENCE.

Meanwhile, the Wonder Bread folks have come out with a Wonder Bread Whole Grain White loaf, designed to appeal to Mums who want to give their kidlets whole grains but know their little bastards would refuse to eat grains. Now how the hell do you get a whole grain white loaf? From the article linked above:

Marion Nestle, a nutritionist at New York University, says the long list of dough conditioners necessary to give the new Wonder Bread its distinctive soft, mushy texture means it's hardly bread at all. "Bread is flour, water, yeast, salt. Period. This has something like 20 other ingredients. … Why not buy your kids real bread?"

It shits me no end that food companies are allowed to put such misleading claims on their products. Did you know a can of Heinz Baked Beans counts as one of your 5-A-Day vegetable portions? Never mind all the sugar and salt and whatnots they're swimming in. By this logic I may as well say ice cream is good for me because it contains calcium. These food labels may be technically true, but they can be grossly misleading. It makes things even more confusing for the average consumer who is already overwhelmed by choice and the latest health trends. Joe Bloggs of Lancashire might see Gillian Crackpot McKeith singing the praises of wholegains on the telly, so he goes to the supermarket and spies those Whole Grain Cheerios and think, "Rightio! That's the ticket!", and ends up sitting down to a bowl of wholegrain sugar and chemicals.

As usual, food manufacturers (and some media) are distorting what is actually sound nutritional advice. Whole grains ARE extremely good for you. But whole grains are pure, cheap and unprocessed – a bag of quinoa or barley is just some grainy stuff in a bag. That's not very exciting to the food manufacturers; where's the money in that? So they have to fiddle with their existing processed shite products to make them fit into the latest trend. Just as they did for the Low Fat trend of the 80s, and the Low Carb shebang of recent years. Low Fat and Low Carb were also good dietary concepts – a healthy diet should be low in saturated fat and low in refined carbs. But this translated into Fat Free Ice Cream and Carb Free Pasta which totally distorted the original ideas and simply ended up feeding us whole lot of shitty food full of chemicals and sugar.

I guess all we can do is learn how to read nutritional info panels on the back of the box, and ignore the brightly-coloured starburst exclamation marked!!! propaganda on the front. There is some good info here if you want to know more about what the hell wholegrains are, even though Nestlé are behind the site.

Okay, time to climb down from my hydrogenated high horse.

. . .

Are you sick of coming to this page and never seeing an update? Are you tired of my endless journey and find yourself wondering if I'll ever get there? Or are you just looking for a way to waste more hours on the internet? Well help is here, because I am going to tell you about a few of my favourite reads. I know I have a bazillion links on the sidebar but thought I'd highlight a couple that have been particularly inspiring for me lately. Not say the others aren't inspiring, but these are simply the blogs du jour. So don't get pouty.

  • Beverly lost over 180lb (can't remember exact number) a few years back and has kept it off. Her blog is now mostly focused on her day-to-day life now, but she has written some real gems about what it's like to lose a megaload of weight. This entry in particular got me all hiccuppy and sad yet so happy that someone understands.
  • I love love love the Born Again Gym Bunny. It's great when you find a blog you can really relate to – YP has lost a lot of weight, is around my weight now, exercises like a mofo, and lives in the UK! Best of all she is a runner extraordinaire and just did her first 10k. Stalking my way through her archives these past few days has been like a kick up the pants for me, remembering how simple hard work and CONSISTENCY bring fantastic results. I feel completely inspired and fired up now, which I really need before I leave for Australia. I am determined not to gain an assload of weight over there so I can come home and blitz off the rest. So thank you, Ms Bunny.

There are bazillions more but I will shut up for today. I am just glad that after all these years it is still so easy to find inspiration. It keeps me away from the vending machine, I tells ya.

I will probably squeeze in one more entry before we leave on Friday, and will sneak some in while we're away, so if you want to be informed of the dribbles of new content round here, don't forget you can join the Notify List or subscribe to my site feed. The links are there on the right. Woohoo!

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19 thoughts on “Grain of Truth

  1. Your use of the word “bazillions” inspired me to paste in a blonde joke I just received from one of my friends: A blonde was sitting on the train reading the newspaper. The headline blared, “12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed.” She shook her head at the sad news, then turned to the stranger sitting next to her and asked, “How many is a Brazilian?”

    Elsewise, I thought ice cream did count as a “dairy” and M&M peanuts as a “good fat,” Doritos as a “grain,” and pub zucchini fingers as a “vegetable.” No wonder I’m having such a hard time!

  2. YES YES YES!

    I have actually had someone with hereditarially high cholesterol tell me that icecream was a good source of calcium. In. All. Seriousness. This girl was genetically unlucky, and had to be on a low cholesterol diet, and yet ate full fat dairy products including icecream…”for the calcium”.

    Also, coworker who snacks all day on low sodium preztels because “they’re baked! low fat!”. Same coworker also considers gummi bears a healthy snack, and picks a deli sandwich the size of her head because it’s “only got 5g of fat”.

    A friend who is struggling to get off a fast-food diet (and getting there) actually stated he was considering drinking a daily glass of wine “for his health”. I was too gobsmacked to ask him what real benefit he thought this would impart, he doesn’t even LIKE wine.

    So these examples are a little bit about people not paying much attention, but I think it really comes down to a bunch of BS misinformation like you’re talking about from cheerios and baked beans. I feel I can spot the BS relatively well now, but I think I have a huge advantage because I’m a trained scientist and my parents were nice enough to feed me simple, real food. I have to fight the urge to giggle evilly when I see my husband shopping and he goes right for the nutrition info and the ingredients list and exclaims at all the crapola additives. He got that from me! Take THAT corporate comfusion machine!

  3. well none of us really have training or diet skills… it’s all about futzing around til you figure out what works for ya. and sorry about that wrong link allan! i copied/pasted the link from someone’s blogroll earlier as i was blogging in a hurry… should be right now! 🙂

    rosemary – that was HILarious 🙂 i remember back in Australia when they started putting “Baked Not Fried!” onto boxes of a brand of crackers, like it was some sort of breakthrough. It’s a cracker! of course it’s not bloody fried. Next thing you’ll see Frozen Not Fried! on a tub of ice cream.

  4. Hi DG!

    It is starting back in Oz as well. Lots of ads mentioning whole grain.

    I was once told that fluffy white bread is actually a liquid poured into the tray not a dough like traditional breads. Pretty disgusting when you think about it.

    Don’t get me started on the whole 99% fat free crap. They are actually promoting Chupa Chups (lollipops) as a healthy snack for kids because they are fat free!

  5. The whole food labelling thing is crap. Mostly I am vigilant, but sometimes I’d like to go get some lunch without having to feel like the food police.

    I used to think that if I bought food with the Heart Smart tick on it, it would be fine but apparently you can’t even trust that!

    It makes me mad when manufacturers are misleading about food. If I’m going to eat a gutful of fat, I want it to be because I choose to pig out on a family sized chocolate not because some dodgy company added a stack of pig fat to my tofu (but it would be low carb!)

  6. Don’t get me started… I lived in Oz for three years a while ago, and I was staggered at the amount of STUPID “health info” on foods. “FAT FREE” spagetti and fat free lollies, for crying out loud! HellO! Yeah, cos that makes it healthy… Unfortunately, this development seems to be coming to my dear, protected (thus far) Norway, too, as we get more exposed to all those stupid American diets. (Yepp, I call them stupid because of the way they are promoted. People never get the full story – as numerous examples show. Like people who live on very fatty high protein foods because they’re on Atkins… or refuse to eat fruit for the same reason… oh COME ON!!!)

    *Stepping down from soap box*

  7. Ok, over here in the states, and I know someone just covered this on their blog, but some of the cereals over here are now 1/2 the sugar…major BS….it’s been replaced with corn syrup…another sugar….yes, you may be using 1/2 the white sugar, but sugar is sugar…that is so misleading…that’s why it’s good just to go with the good natural stuff in it’s natural state….that’s why I like my veggies and my grass fed meat and the dairy that comes from grass fed animals that haven’t been drugged up so much….go with natural…that’s the best bet….yes, I’m sure that the next thing we’ll see is the beer companies spewing the fact that their beers are a good source of whole grains…aren’t they made with barley??? Anything to try and fool the general populace….

  8. A friend of mine just started a PhD program in molecular biology (scary), and at an intro lecture was shown a jokey video clip about NEW STEM-CELL BEER! We’ve all been reading about how stem cells are the big magic fix for stuff (in some ways they are, but it’s pretty complicated). This video clip shows an average guy with a bit of a beer gut drinking his STEM CELL BEER and enthusing about how the stem cells rebuild his liver AS HE DRINKS! So it’s totally cool for the beer to be something like 40% alcohol, since it repairs as it destroys. Too funny. I’ll email it on to anyone who asks for it. I think it’s a good spoof on how marketing is so much about the BS and the magic quick fix.

  9. Hey buddy. Great entry. You are up on the same bandwagon I love to ride on. I can’t stand that these companies make great big profits of making us all fat. The catch phrase of the moment here is “low GI”. All of a sudden everything is labelled as “Low GI”. Milo, for fuck’s sake, is labelled low GI. Milo is chocolate and sugar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There is a great TV programme on here at the moment, which is probably just a copy of some foreign programme, but it is great. It is called downsize me and is all about how a personal trainer and a nutritionist come in and take all the processed shit out of the fridge and cupboards of the fatties. They replace it with lean meats, veges, fruit, nuts, seeds and good oils. For eight weeks these fatties have to eat only whole foods and exercise, actually hard, getting their heart rates up, and at the end of it the majority of them are so bloody energised that it makes you want to eat veges non stop. What I like is that they also take fit healthy people and give them the same crap that the fatties normally eat and make them eat like shit and not exercise for 10 days. After the 10 days the fit people look like shit and have put on weight and cholesterol has gone up. IN 10 DAYS! So what is it doing to us mere mortals over a period of 10 years?

    Keep spreading the word DG. So many of us admire you that you have the ability to make a change.

  10. You are soo right about the crap marketing – but then we re-elected our PM so clearly Aussies aren’t much into reasoning (sigh). Have a great trip!!!!! And if you need ANYTHING in Melbourne ping me an email and I’ll be glad to help/join you for a red wine or two

  11. Hey, thanks for the shout out!! Now back to the whole grain crap, have you seen the new “whole grain” COOKIES from Nabisco!? They have go to be freaking kidding us with this shit! Anything to make a buck, right?

    Beverly

  12. Righton! Of course, denial is outright ignorance, I suppose: I was in the line at the grocery last week behind a very tubby family purchasing cheese puffs, potato chips, cases of soda, and tons of full-fat ground beer. Maybe I should tell my children to become cardiologists so that they can take care of me in my old age.

  13. Hi, I read an article in Cosmo about this blog, and I thought I’d have a look. This year I have lost 20kgs, but thankfully it hasn’t been hard at all (if it was I probably wouldn’t have ever lost the weight). I’ve been very overweight for years and have just eatten terribly every single day for so so long…
    I never really made a conscious decision to loose weight (I always wanted to but my will power lasted on average a whole 2 seconds) just one day i decided not to ‘try’ or care but to just have a go at eating a bit better. Rather than changing my whole diet and lifestyle, i just selected one thing that I was doing wrong and changed it – the first thing I changed was that I drank ALOT of chocolate milk – VERY VERY BAD… think upwards of 1.8L of chocolate milk a day. So I stopped drinking it, i drank other things (even other bad things) until I wasn’t addicted anymore. One day somebody gave me a chocolate milk and I had a sip and it just didn’t taste as good anymore! After making that change and was comfortable with it – i had achieved a NEW normal… I changed something else. (I always ate whatever I felt like and didn’t get upset with myself if I was ‘bad’ I didn’t plan to loose so much a week and was just happy to go down a little… its always better than going up!) The more I loose the slower it is and the more I have to change to go down, but I am feeling so much healthier, Feel so much better about myself and I have so much more energy and if I don’t loose any more weight at least I am better off than i was last year! I wouldn’t go back now for anything.
    I still would like to loose another 15kgs, and I will. My whole family is always talking about weight and stressing about it and that is why I always had such a problem with it, I couldn’t stand it, they were always telling me I needed to loose weight as if I didn’t know! We would all fight about it all the time. All I can say now is that even though I’m not thin, my family now thinks I’m the most amazing person around – i never listened to them telling me what to do, i just said ‘let me work it out myself, I’ve lost ___ weight so far doing it my way and it’s working for me…’
    They complain to me about the fact that they’re still ‘fat’ (not that they are) and i just tell them that their problem is they are always on a diet… they never change their lifestyle, they just diet for a while or continuously and then they go and binge!
    I believe everyone finds what works for them and that is different for everyone!
    Good luck to everyone and congratulations to everyone who has lost weight!

  14. Just read about you in Cosmo … way to go Diet Girl, you are an inspiration to many 🙂 and yes you even made it in to Cosmo 🙂

  15. Hi Diet girl
    I know this is a really old entry but I had to comment on it anyway because its just SO TRUE. My God i’m so sick of being … bombarded from left right and centre with more and more shite from the food industry. I worked in marketing and advertising so I know the lengths companies go to to hide the truth without actually lying. Its so exhausting. And its everywhere now. Some people with weight loss blogs even have cookies being advertised down the side of their page!!!! .. you go in to a shop to buy a newspaper and you can hardly pay the person at the cash desk because its so hard to reach over the mountain of confectionery. You go to the supermarket and its one stupid cartoon character after another spouting the health benefits of some high fructose corn syrup filled cereal. I live in Asia now and its actually worse over here as they dont seem to have such rigid advertising rules so one cupcake company even has “cupcakes beat depression” written on their bags!!!!!!!

    Imagine if somebody one day just banned it all. It’d be such a relief. Just the ban the whole flipping lot of it and leave us only with actual food as opposed to man-made food. Sure id miss it at the start but the peace id have would be worth it!