September 12, 2002 (Ira Pilgrim)


A society trained to accept the preposterous claims, the deceptions, and the

vulgarities of American advertising can perhaps be manipulated into accepting


Henry Steele Commager

My wife brought home a box of dry cereal that a friend gave her. We gave it a try. My first reaction to it was that it was mostly sugar. I don't like sweetened cereals. The dry cereals that I prefer are Shredded Wheat and Cheerios, which do not taste sugary. Shredded wheat is 100% whole wheat, with nothing else added and Cheerios has a small amount of sugar that I can't taste. I usually add raisins, or fresh strawberries when we have them.

The cereal is called "Nature's Path Organic Hemp Plus Granola." And it is "Certified Organic Grown and Processed" and it has "No Biotech Ingredients."

The list of ingredients is: "Organic oats, evaporated organic cane juice, organic expeller-pressed canola oil, Crispy rice (organic brown rice flour, evaporated organic cane juice, organic barley malt extract, sea salt), organic flaxseeds, organic oat syrup solids, hemp seed. May contain traces of peanut, tree nuts and soy."

Where did the sugary taste come from? Well, the next ingredient, after the oats, is "evaporated organic cane juice," which can be translated into SUGAR, which is the same stuff that you buy in the supermarket as SUGAR. More precisely, it is cane sugar, to distinguish it from the sugar that comes from fruit or sugar beets. Why don't they just call it sugar? Well, I suppose it is because the word "sugar" sounds unhealthy and "evaporated organic cane juice" doesn't. Ingredients are listed in order of the amount in a product, so the main ingredient is oats. Next in quantity is sugar. Judging from the taste, it contains one hellofalot of sugar.

The third ingredient is canola oil which comes from rape seeds. Canola sounds better than rape. Why don't they use flaxseed oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids? For the same reason that you can't find that oil on grocer's shelves; it goes rancid very easily and therefore must be refrigerated. Flaxseed oil can be bought in a less pure form in your hardware store, where it is called linseed oil.

The fourth ingredient is "Crispy Rice," which, I would guess, is Rice Crispies without the trade mark. It has still more sugar.

The fifth ingredient is flaxseeds, which is very nutritious, as are most seeds.

The sixth ingredient is Oat Syrup Solids. I don't know what that is, but the quantity is probably so small that its nutritional value is insignificant.

Lastly are Hemp Seeds, which, we are assured, contains no THC (tetrahydrocanbinol, one of the active ingredients in marijuana). The package praises the benefit of the nutrients in hemp seeds. However, since the amount of the seeds is minute, it shouldn't be of any nutritional significance.

People who are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or soy can be affected by minute amounts of the allergen. You are, therefore, warned that there may be trace amounts present. That should tell you something about the lack of care with which their product is processed.

In short, that Nature's Path cereal is about as natural as the box that it comes in. The large amount of sugar insures that you will be hungry for more in a very short time after eating it. Oh well, it's the American way: Anything for a buck. You can always find suckers who will buy anything that has the right buzz words attached to it. Bull droppings are also organic.

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