Major news in the cereal world last week. Cheerios, the most popular brand of breakfast cereal, has joined the protein arms race with the introduction of 2 new cereals fortified with protein clusters.
With carbs deemed evil, and fats as fattening, protein is the only macro-nutrient of 3 that dieters and wannabes can turn to. Protein has indeed been shown to help with satiety and has become an issue in the cereal category where normally it does not excel. Original Cheerios has just 3 grams. The new protein version has 7 grams.
From General Mills, the manufacturer:
Fuel your family’s breakfast with new Cheerios Protein. Providing 11g or protein with milk, Cheerios Protein gives you long-lasting energy with a taste your whole family will love. The toasted whole grain O’s, combined with crunchy oat granola clusters and real honey come together in delicious harmony in two great flavors: Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond.
We decided to take a look inside.
The serving size for this product is 1.25 cups – about 2 ounces (55 grams). It is much denser than Original Cheerios at 1 cup – about 1 ounce (28 grams). Original Cheerios has 100 calories; the protein version has 210!
Here’s the funny thing – if you eat a double serving of Original Cheerios, you’ll get 6 grams of protein, almost the same the new Protein Cheerios at 7 grams! With half a glass of milk added, you’ll get 14 grams from a double serving of Original Cheerios, and only 11 grams of protein from Protein Cheerios!
What’s worse is that the new Protein Cheerios is chock full of sugar as well. It’s got 17 grams of sugar per serving – 4 teaspoons worth! Original Cheerios has just 1 gram of sugar (1/4 tsp).
Here is the ingredient list for Protein Cheerios, Oats & Honey:
whole grain oats, cluster (whole grain oats, brown sugar, soy protein, lentils, sugar, corn syrup, natural flavor, molasses, rice starch, caramel (sugar, caramelized sugar syrup), salt, calcium carbonate, baking soda, color added, bht added to preserve freshness), sugar, corn starch, honey, salt, refiner’s syrup, tripotassium phosphate, rice bran and/or canola oil, color added, natural flavor, brown sugar, vitamin e (mixed tocopherols), bht added to preserve freshness. vitamins and minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc and iron (minerals nutrients), vitamin c (sodium ascorbate), a b vitamin (niacinamide), vitamin b6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin b2 (riboflavin), vitamin b1 (thiamin mononitrate), vitamin a (palmitate), a b vitamin (folic acid), vitamin b12, vitamin d3.
The added protein is from soy and lentils. Lentils are beginning to pop up as ingredients in various products. That’s a good thing. There are multiple sugar ingredients in this cereal, which explains the 16 grams total. One of them is Refiner’s Syrup, which is commonly known as golden syrup. It is similar to molasses.
Overall, this product makes no sense nutritionally. Obviously Cheerios is hopping on the protein bandwagon, but we recommend you stay off. Protein for breakfast is a great idea. How about yogurt (Greek or regular), a hard boiled egg, or steel cut oats?