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Smart, but sweet, Start

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I tried a new (to me) cereal this morning: Kellogg's Smart Start. I had tasted a couple of pieces of it recently and liked it; nice flavor, nice crunch.

So while I was eating it, I looked it up online to find out more about it. (The box wasn't available.) And I came across the nutrition info page, presumably an image of the nutrition-info panel from the box, and I read the ingredients.

Looking only at the sweeteners and the grains, the ingredients go like this:

oat blend (whole oats, oat bran), rice, sugar, oat clusters (sugar, toasted oats (rolled oats, sugar, .., molasses, honey, ...), wheat flakes, crisp rice (rice, sugar, barley malt, ...), corn syrup, ..., honey, ...), high fructose corn syrup, ...

So apparently the way to make this stuff goes something like this:

  1. Take rolled oats and add three kinds of sweeteners.
  2. Take rice and add two kinds of sweeteners.
  3. Mix the rolled oats and rice together with some wheat and add three more kinds of sweeteners.
  4. Add oats, rice, and two more kinds of sweeteners.

Or, to put it another way, the cereal consists of oats, rice, wheat, and ten sweeteners.

No wonder it's tasty!

Yes, I realize I'm not being fair in how I counted that. It's hard to tell exactly how much sweetener there really is in this stuff. But given how high sugar alone appears in the ingredients list and in each sub-list, I kinda get the impression there's a lot of sweet stuff in this cereal.

Elsewhere in the nutrition-info panel it says that every 60g serving contains 17g of sugars, so sugars are a little more than a quarter of the content by weight, which appears to be about the same as the granola that I sometimes have for breakfast. So it's not as extreme as the number of different kinds of sweetener might suggest. But it still looks like a lot in the ingredients list.

(Btw, polydextrose is another ingredient in the oat clusters, but TSOR suggests that that's not a sweetener, just a sort of thickener/texturing agent made from dextrose.)

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polydextrose is another ingredient in the oat clusters, but TSOR suggests that that's not a sweetener, just a sort of thickener/texturing agent made from dextrose

I wonder if polydextrose, even if not sweet, is still a contributor to insulin resistance.

I make granola at home with oats, toasted on a cookie sheet in the oven. I may add - depending on mood -- some (never all) of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup, dried apples, finely chopped nuts, dried bananans, dried blueberries, currants, butter. (Most common adds are currents and cinnamon, with a thin sprinkle of butter-and-brown-sugar). More than sweet enough, I'm sure.


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