Two New Trends in Marketing Breakfast Cereals — One Bad, One Good

For several decades, ads touting cereal as Mother Nature’s wholesome solution for obesity and heart disease have been very effective. But now — because more and more people are recognizing that instead of being the solution cereals are actually a big part of the problem — sales are suffering.

This has sparked two new trends in cereals and the ads that sell them — one that’s bad and one that’s good.

Trend No. 1: The advice gets worse. What do you do when low-carb dieting starts cutting into your cereal sales? You convince those still eating cereal to eat more of it by pointing to studies that seem to prove that cereal not only helps reduce cholesterol but also helps you lose weight. So marketers are now urging you to eat cereal as a breakfast bar, as a between-meals snack, and, worse yet, for two meals a day. How can they claim that cereal helps reduce cholesterol? You produce cholesterol in response to calories — which means that you can “starve down” cholesterol.

So, they set up a study that switches the participants to oatmeal or Cheerios — and, at the same time, reduces their total calories. Because these people are eating fewer calories, they also lose weight. As a result, the study makes eating cereal look like a good thing. Problem is, the starch-and-sugar mix in most cereals stimulates the over-secretion of insulin. With high insulin and fewer calories than your body really needs, you can lose weight — but you will also lose muscle. And your body will try to build more fat when you start eating more calories. Plus, soon after your insulin spikes, you’re going to tend to feel hungry. That sets you up for eating heavier meals at night . . . which causes more fat building.

Trend No. 2: The products get better. Now, for the good news. A number of companies have started to produce higher-protein cereals. Most of these brands use honey or molasses instead of sugar to give them a lower glycemic index. Some are made from a variety of whole grains. And some have added soy protein. If you can’t kick the cereal, at least choose one of the following high-protein brands — even if you have to make a trip to your local health-food store to find it: Keto Cereals — Original, sweet, crunchy, classic taste. 3 grams of effective carbs, 8 grams of total carbs, 17 grams of protein, and 1gram of sugar.

Allergy info: Contains soy and wheat. Protidiet Plain Oatmeal — Regular oatmeal has very little protein. This oatmeal has almost the identical taste and texture of regular oatmeal but has 15 grams of protein and 90 calories. Atkins Morning Start Cereals — Atkins offers a variety of flavors. 8-11 grams of total carbs, 3-5 grams of net carbs, 1 gram of sugar, 12-15 grams of protein. Even these “good” cereals can’t substitute for a natural diet high in protein. Your healthiest breakfast is the traditional one: meat and eggs. It suppresses insulin and charges your metabolism for the day.

(Ed. Note: Dr. Al Sears is the editor of Health Confidential for Men, a publication devoted to men’s health. For information about it, click here: