Dr. Travis Stork, one of the hosts of the daytime television show "The Doctors," was quoted this week in a press release saying he is "passionate about choosing products with whole grain as the first ingredient." As The Boston Globe's health blogger Deborah Kotz writes, the release came from the packaged foods company General Mills, which makes such sugary cereals as Trix and Lucky Charms. Kotz writes:
In a phone interview, Stork acknowledged that he was being paid by General Mills to promote whole grains but emphasized that this didn't mean he was "endorsing General Mills" or telling parents to buy the company's Lucky Charms, Trix, or Cookie Crisp -- even if they do have whole grain as the first ingredient.
"I'm a spokesperson for whole grains," said the emergency room physician who became famous after appearing on the reality show The Bachelor. "But I also think we should reward companies that increase the nutritional profiles of their products."
One glance at the nutrition facts label of Trix, however, tells me that General Mills hasn't done much to improve the cereal. While whole grain corn is the first ingredient, sugar is the second, processed corn meal is the third, and corn syrup (another sweetener) comes fourth. The product contains 10 grams of sugar -- down from 13 grams last year -- and just one gram of fiber.
"What whole grains do is that they give you more fiber, which makes you feel full longer and also slows the absorption of sugar," said Stork.
When I pointed out that the General Mills' sugary kid cereals labeled whole grain had just one or two grams of fiber, he responded, "You're raising a valid point, which is why I tell people to read the nutrition label."
Image: Sugary cereal, via Shutterstock