Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cereal Diet Is High-Carb Weight Loss Disaster

The so-called healthy cereal diet not recommended on low-carb lifestyle

This New Jersey Star-Ledger story about the new dietary claims of these so-called "healthy, whole grain" cereals on the market today ignores one of the most important elements people need to be aware of about these products -- excessive carbohydrates!

The weight loss claims made by the manufacturers of cereals such as Special K from Kellogg's and Raisin Bran from Post are out there in full force. They are being marketed to consumers as the latest solution to weight and health problems. It really has become the new "weight-loss craze," according to the article.

Hoping to take advantage of a desperate group of people who long for weight loss, these cereal diets urge people to eat their cereal products twice a day with low-fat milk and fruit and boldly proclaim that people will shed the pounds.

Strong statements indeed. Whether they are true or not remains to be seen. But the manufacturers of these cereals don't care as long as their "we're healthy" message for these cereals is resonating with the consumer.

"Sales have gone up, and we've seen gains in the way consumers think of our brand. They think of Special K as a brand that helps them manage their weight," said a representative for Special K.

Yet, is it true? Does simply eating two bowls of this cereal a day for six weeks alone shed 10 pounds as they claim? I'm sure if this cereal diet was supplemented with a low-fat/1500-calories a day/portion control diet that people could probably lose 2-3 pounds a week on it.

However, people who are livin' la vida low-carb may be thinking that they should start eating these "healthy" cereals as part of their low-carb diet. But this would be a detrimental mistake for low-carbers to make since these cereals are high-carb.

Check out the nutritional label for Special K:

While you will notice this cereal if fat-free, it is LOADED with 22g carbohydrates. Not good when you are low-carbin' it!

Now, let's look at the Raisin Bran nutritional label:

Again, you will notice this cereal is low in fat with just two grams, but YIKES, look at the carb content -- 47 grams!!! Whoa! This cereal is NOT healthy for you on a low-carb program and will quickly derail you from being the success you want to be in your weight loss efforts. Don't scratch your head wondering why your weight loss stopped if you start eating these cereals just because they're being marketed as "healthy!"

Not surprising, the column notes that nutritionists support these cereal diets. Well, gee, I wonder why? Could it be because they are LOW-FAT?!?!?! Although they are skeptical that people can stick with a diet like this because of boredom and don't think people will limit their cereal intake for one meal to the serving size of a half-cup to a full cup. But many people eat a GIANT BOWL of cereal like Jethro Clampett used to have on The Beverly Hillbillies!

Have you ever eaten a bowl of cereal this big? I have!

Actually, the cereal diet is just as bad for you as Slim-Fast and other "meal-replacement" diets out there. If you are wanting to restrict your fat and calories to lose weight, then perhaps this would work for you. But this is a recipe for disaster if you are livin' la vida low-carb. Avoid eating cereals like this if you have committed yourself to the low-carb lifestyle.

This article takes a quick pot shot at low-carb diets by stating that the nutritionists who love these cereal diets so much say they are better than the low-carb diets because it is a return to grains and fiber since people didn't eat bread and cereal on low-carb.

Oh, give me a break people! The whole grain craze is pretty lame-brained if you ask me. There are MANY excellent low-carb versions of breads and cereals out there (I'll be reviewing a new low-carb cereal I'm currently trying sometime over the next week). This myth that low-carbers don't get enough grains and fiber is simply absurd.

The cereal companies contend their weight loss claims are backed by scientific studies, although information about these studies is scarce and the supposed weight loss that real people are seeing is suspect at best.

Thankfully, at the end of the column, a real consumer made some pretty intriguing comments about these cereal diets. She said she tried it for a few days, but found it incredibly impractical for her busy lifestyle. She insinuates in her comments that the carbohydrates in the cereal make you get hungrier quicker than the satisfying low-carb foods.

"You would end up at Burger King by late afternoon," the consumer stated.

Yikes! And THAT is exactly why these cereal diets won't work. They don't satiate your hunger and you end up getting hungrier quicker after eating all those carbohydrates. When you are trying to lose weight, this is NOT good.

So why waste you time on a diet that's gonna restrict you to one kind of food for two meals a day and will not satisfy your hunger? Instead, start livin' la vida low-carb and eat better-tasting foods that will satisfy you and help you meet your weight loss goals much quicker and easier than you ever thought possible.


Blogger Newbirth said...

It will work if you can deal with the hunger. It's a basic low-fat, low calories diet.

I will note that (as least at one time) Special-K had a low carb version out - 9 g per serving I believe. Total did, too. Both were good but cereals are no more for me. I can't get the low carb milk in this area anymore. :-p

2/28/2006 10:15 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

It's the same, lame old low-fat and portion control lie all over again. Incredible that people keep falling for that.

Worse, notice that although the fat content is listed as 0, the percentage count is 1%. That is because they are allowed to round it off. So, first of all, it's NOT fat free, and secondly, as you can see from the label, it DOES contain yummy, oh-so-healthy trans-fats.


3/01/2006 12:55 AM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

In the lowcarb classic "Neanderthin", the authors talk about how Dr. Kellogg got started. Basically in the 1800s he had one of those wacky treatment clinics, doing all sorts of crazy things to improve people's health!

3/01/2006 6:55 AM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

This was the one fight over food I had with my mother while I was in grammar school. Usually, I ate everything put in front of me, as I enjoyed all sorts of food at an early age.
On a school morning though, I couldn't stand any cereal, as I knew I would end up very hungry by second period. I just couldn't convince my mom that it wasn't all in my head !
We finally compromised on Instant Breakfast, which at least kept me from becoming lightheaded. If one reads the nutritional label on Instant B, it's pretty bad, but at least I didn't have the same reaction to it as I had to cereal.

Jimmy, it might be interesting at some point to do a post on what parents feed their children during the school year, expecting them to be able to think and do their schoolwork on high carb junk !

3/01/2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger Edward O'Neill said...

It may not simply be the excess carbs that are a bad idea. It's also just that cereals tend to be dense with calories--esp. compared to fruits and vegetables. I did Atkins for a year but could never get below a certain weight and found I couldn't exercise without carbs. Now I follow an approach that emphasizes fruits and vegetables--even Atkins taboo apples and oranges--along with low-fat protein and calorie reduction. I've now lost 20 pounds in only two months. Check it out: (BTW: I am not promoting any product, simply sharing my approach and experiences.)

3/01/2006 2:26 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

I don't know of anyone who couldn't exercise without carbs.

Fat is actually a perfect fuel for exercise!

How else are we going to get thin without burning our body fat ?

Just look at Jimmy here, Mr. Workout he is!

You say you did Atkins for a year. I'm sure you did, but one of his chapters in the book is called Exercise: It's Non-Negotiable.

3/01/2006 6:15 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Actually, Chapter 3 of my book is called "Exercise is not a dirty word," but it is NON-NEGOTIABLE, too, Dave! :)

3/01/2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I exercise great and have plenty of energy. My usual breakfast is VERY low in carbs - either 2 fried eggs, a sugar free protein shake, or an Atkins meal bar. If it's a workout day I have an extra serving of my sugar free protein shake after.

3/01/2006 11:11 PM  

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