Kashi is a high end food brand, with an impressive number of cereals in its lineup. It was founded in 1984 in Southern California and acquired by Kellogg’s in 2000. The company advertises their products as “natural”, containing a blend of seven whole grains and sesame. There is a strong emphasis on high protein and fiber content.
So is Kashi a good start to the day? We decided to check out an exemplar – Kashi GoLean Crunch…
What you need to know:
Here’s the ingredient list:
Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Cereal: (Whole: Oats, Long Grain Brown Rice, Rye, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Triticale, Buckwheat, Barley, Sesame Seeds), Textured Soy Protein Concentrate, Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Syrup, Chicory Root Fiber (Inulin), Whole Grain Oats, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole: Oats, Long Grain Brown Rice, Rye, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Triticale, Buckwheat, Barley, Sesame Seeds), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Honey, Salt, Cinnamon, Mixed Tocopherols (Natural Vitamin E) for freshness.
The product is made with only natural ingredients. There is a good mix of seven whole grains. There are no “natural flavors” added, which is usually a sign of ingredients that were good enough to provide flavor on their own without having to resort to a “flavor lab”. Even the spoilage retardant used is vitamin E, not controversial BHT. There are no artificial coloring or trans fats either.
But having ingredients that are all natural does not automatically make this an optimal breakfast choice.
At 190 calories per serving, this is high calorie count for cereal. It’s got 13 grams of sugar, 3 teaspoons worth, just like Froot Loops. That’s way too much.
The 8 grams of fiber (which for the uninitiated may cause bloating), are quite high. But not all of them are from the 7 whole grain blend. There’s “artificially” added fiber through inulin. While inulin is natural, it seems senseless to pump up a cereal already made with whole grains just to drive the fiber number sky high.
Same with protein – the addition of textured soy protein concentrate helps drive the protein count up to 9 grams, but it’s really not needed unless you are a body builder. Most Americans get much more protein in a day than they really need.
What to do at the supermarket:
While Kashi GoLean Crunch is not the best choice due to its high sugar count, the company does offer many other options that contain little or no added sugar, for example Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes with only 1 teaspoon of added sugar. We like that the company does not use artificial additives and works with whole grains, but as you can see from the example above the term “natural” does not automatically translate to “healthy”.