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Kellogg´s New Guidelines Still Allow Junk Food PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Tuesday, 03 July 2007 11:05

Don't Be Fooled:

Kellogg´s New Guidelines Still Allow Junk Food

Kellogg´s has agreed to adopt new guidelines in relation to their products and advertising to children that will limit the amount of calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars.

While we think this is a great idea and applaud Kellogg for their efforts, specifically for the agreement about TV Ads and tie-ins with toys, we don't think the nutrition guidelines are very helpful nor do they go anywhere near far enough.

Many products already out there that are junk food can actually meet those guidelines.

Here is why...

Kellogg´s will limit the amount of calories to "no more than 200 calories."

This is great, but it leads to portion control, which doesn't work, for most people and especially kids. It doesn't address the issue of calorie density, which is very important. An ounce of walnuts is around 200 calories as is a pound of apples. Just limiting calories, without understanding calorie density, will fail. If we limit food to the amount of calories in it, and not its ability to provide both nutrients and satiety we will only be left hungry and wanting more.

Kellogg´s will limit the amount of fats to "No more than zero grams of trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat."

The zero grams of trans fat can be "rounded" down. So, if something has .49 grams of trans fat, it can be listed as 0, and "trans fat free". Yet, if the child was to eat 2-3 servings, they would be getting in quite a bit of trans fat, from a "trans fat free" food. At 4-5 servings of such a food, a child can actually exceed the upper level of TFA recommended (2 grams per day) and do this eating a "trans fat free" food.

If the product is 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat would be 9% of calories, which is under the 10% we used to hear recommended. But the American Heart Association has changed its guidelines and now recommends under 7% for adults. While we think less than 5% is a better goal, 7% would be an improvement over current standards.

However, children already are showing signs of CVD and should have the same guidelines. But, the 2 gram limit is for 200 calories. If the product has 100 calories, the 2 grams still applies, but this 100 calorie food is now 18% saturated fat. If it was a 50 calorie per serving food, the 2 grams of saturated fat would make it 36% saturated fat.

Kellogg´s has agreed to limit sodium to "No more than 230 milligrams of sodium (except for Eggo frozen waffles)."

This is too high. If someone was to follow this guideline as the "average" (1: 1.15 ratio calories/sodium) for the day, their sodium intake could exceed the Upper Limit set by the Institute of Medicine. And remember, this is based on 200 calories. If snacks were 100, or 50 calories, and contained the allowed 230 mg of sodium, the ratios would increase to 1:2.3 and 1:4.6 respectively. To keep sodium below the UL set by the IOM, sodium in mgs per serving should never exceed the amount of calories per serving. And that would be the upper limit.

Kellogg´s has agreed to limit sugar to "No more than 12 grams of sugar (excluding sugar from fruit, dairy, and vegetables)."

At 200 calories, 12 grams of sugar equates to 24% of calories. This is much too high. Sugars are already around over 20% of the average intake of calories, so this isn't changing anything. And, again, remember, this is based on 200 calories. If the product is 100 calories, the sugars can be up to 48%. At 50 calories, it would be 96% sugar.

Kellogg’s Kellogg´sFrosted Flakes, clearly NOT a health food, could easily pass these guidelines.

According to the WHO and the NEJM, today's children are projected to live shorter lives than the current generation, all due to the negative health consequences of obesity.

We can do better. Continue to support the NHA to make it happen.


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