Kellogg’s Claims Cereal Boosts Immune System

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Kellogg’s added some vitamins and antioxidants to their Cocoa Krispies, Rice Krispies and Frosted Krispies cereals, claiming this will boost the immune system. Can fortified sugary cereals actually boost your immune system.

Kellogg’s has added some vitamins and antioxidants to their Cocoa Krispies®, Rice Krispies® and Frosted Krispies® cereals. Across the box of this cereal they have added a banner that screams, “Now helps support your child’s IMMUNITY”. Are you going to buy this cereal now with the belief that it will boost your children’s immunity? Here are the facts.

When I first saw this on the local news the other night, I really thought it was a joke story or a spoof. But it was not. Kellogg’s is jumping on the fight the flu bandwagon, yet they claim that this has been planned a year ago, before the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic started. Kellogg’s has increased the amount of vitamins A, C and E from 10% to 25% of the daily value. The label also has in big print, “25% of daily value of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins A, B, C and E”. The nutrition label has those vitamins listed, but it also has listed that this small ¾ cup serving also has 12 grams of sugar without the milk, with milk the total amount of sugar goes to 18 grams. That is a lot of sugar. Another ingredient is high corn fructose sugar, which could be a contributing factor in the rise in obesity. Sugar can also diminish the immune system. Adding this small amount of vitamins to a sugary food isn’t going to help boost the immune system. If any added vitamins were to boost the immune system, the amount of sugar would more than nullify any benefits.

A statement released by Kellogg’s said, “These nutrients have been identified by the Institute of Medicine and other studies as playing an important role in the body's immune system. Therefore, we believe the claim ... is supported by reliable and competent scientific evidence.” That makes sense, but it is also very misleading. To the best of my knowledge, the Institute of Medicine did not say that this cereal boosts the immune system. They are not endorsing this cereal as an immune system booster. The Institute of Medicine and every other institute on the planet have said that vitamins play an important role in boosting our immune system, and everyone should already know this.

Not All Vitamins Are The Same

Just because a food is fortified with vitamins doesn’t mean that you are actually getting those vitamins. There are synthetic vitamins, natural vitamins, and the absorption factor of vitamins to consider. Vitamin E comes in a natural and a synthetic form. Usually the only way to tell if it is the natural vitamin E, it will say d-alpha and the synthetic will say dl-alpha. The nutritional information on the box of these cereals doesn’t say either. In almost all foods that are fortified with vitamins, the cheaper versions are used. And cheaper would mean synthetic, chemically produced vitamins. The synthetic version of vitamin E has only half of the biological activity as natural vitamin E does.

Even when buying a multivitamin, you have to be careful to buy one that is going to be absorbed into your body. There are tests to determine how well a vitamin will be absorbed and not just wasted and flushed out of your system unabsorbed. You are paying for these added vitamins in the cereal since nothing is free. If you are going to pay extra money for vitamins, wouldn’t it better to find a good multivitamin for you and your children instead of buying some cereal with questionable vitamins and amounts. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as the actual vitamins you get from real food.

Too Many Synthetic Vitamins

Today there are all kinds of fortified foods and drinks. Fortified soda pop, fruit juices, cereals, candy bars, energy drinks, teas, bread and even water. If someone had one each of these products during the day, are they getting too many vitamins, too many synthetic vitamins that don’t do much if anything to help your health and in some cases hurting your health.

Sadly, you will read articles about how good fortified foods are at giving people their needed nutrients. And you will read lists of all these different fortified foods but for some odd reason, you will never hear about actual and real food. Which is where the real vitamins and nutrients come from. There are label laws for heart health claims, low fat, low-sodium and cancer and fat. Maybe the FDA is going to have to look at flu and immune system labels now.

The Bottom Line

If you want to buy one of these cereals for you or your children, that is fine, just do not buy and eat these cereals thinking it is going to boost your immune system, make you healthy and keep the flu away.

If you are concerned about the amount of vitamins you get per day, learn and invest money in a good multivitamin. The best way to get vitamins and nutrients is directly from the foods we eat, not fortified foods. Eating the right foods will boost your immune system.

© 2009 Sam Montana

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