You’d think that with the cereal category being so saturated, manufacturers would focus their energy elsewhere. But no, new products are coming out all the time. We recently got an email alerting us to a new cereal in the Fiber One family – Nutty Clusters. The pitch included:
More than ninety percent of Americans don’t get the daily recommended amount of fiber… Fiber One today introduced its newest cereal flavor, Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds. One serving of this delicious combination of crunchy nut clusters, real sliced almonds and lightly sweetened flakes provides 43% of the Daily Value of fiber… it’s the perfect combination of crunch and sweetness, with 180 calories and 23 grams of whole grain per serving (at least 48 grams recommended daily).
The packaging looks promising:
- With Whole Grain
- Pictures of Almonds and blueberries
- Lightly sweetened
- Great nutty taste
- Daily Value 43% of Fiber
Sound delectable? Every single word and graphic is designed to make us buy this product. Let’s take a critical look inside the label.
What you need to know:
Ok, so people are not getting enough fiber. But is a breakfast cereal going to solve that for us? Fiber One believes the answer is yes.
Here is the product ingredient list:
Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Corn Bran, Whole Grain Oats, Corn Starch, Almonds, Inulin, Corn Syrup, Puffed Wheat, Salt, Brown Sugar Syrup, Canola Oil, Wheat Flour, Graham Flour, Malt Syrup, Tripotassium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Molasses, Color Added, Honey, Baking Soda, Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and Ascorbic Acid Added to Preserve Freshness..
The fiber comes from the whole grain wheat, but also from corn bran, the oats, and inulin. We’ve written about inulin and its side effects in the past. Let’s just say that boasting such a high fiber count in a product due to added inulin is not something to be proud of. Nor is it something to excite you as a consumer. We can’t cheat our bodies and consume no fiber for 30 years and then suddenly boost up the intake through inulin in a breakfast cereal.
Next up in our analysis: Were you able to count all the sugar sources in this cereal? We’ve marked them in bold to make it easy. There are 12 grams of sugar in this cereal, the equivalent of 3 teaspoons. That’s more sugar than in Cocoa Puffs! What’s really irritating is that the front of pack says “Lightly Sweetened“. Liars!
From a calorie perspective, this cereal is on the higher end – with 180 calories. If a cereal is satisfying, even 200 calories aren’t scary, even when the average cereal is just 100-120 calories per serving. You see, cereals that contain nuts are expected to have a higher calorie count due to the fat in nuts.. Normally, that’s fine, because the fats in the nuts keep you satisfied for a longer time. But in this case, there are only 30 calories from fat, but 48 from sugar!
On the bright side, the cereal is preserved with vitamin E and vitamin D, instead of BHT, a problematic preservative popular in cereals. There are also no artificial sweeteners, which Fiber One is notorious for using in its products.
Bottom line: We’re not impressed. Add a handful of nuts to Multigrain Cheerios and you’ll do better than this. You don’t need so much fiber in one sitting, and definitely not from inulin.
What to do at the supermarket:
Choose cereals with 6 or less grams of sugar, and with over 3 grams of fiber. But if fiber values are over 7 grams, start suspecting that lots of it was added to make the product see better for you than it really is.