Bowl of Candy
Eating a bowl of cereal, once a childhood favorite, is becoming increasingly popular as the meal of choice for teenagers and young adults. According to the New York Times (November 14), cereal is becoming the staple in the average college student diet. It’s consumed so frequently that it can hardly be considered only a breakfast food. The article explains that some college students eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Eager entrepreneurs, having picked up on the trend, are milking it for all it’s worth. “A new restaurant called Cereality Cereal Bar and Café is scheduled to open … on the University of Pennsylvania campus, with a menu of more than 30 cereals and even more toppings served by pajama-clad ‘cereologists’ …” (ibid.). A restaurant specializing in cereals has also opened near Arizona State University.
Not surprisingly, nutritionists are concerned. One professor of nutrition at New York University, Marion Nestle, said that eating cereal was just “an excuse to eat candy.” While it may be true that a handful of cereals might make for a semi-nutritious meal, the ones that are most common on campuses (judging by those mentioned in the New York Times piece) are loaded with sugar.
Earlier this year, researchers examined the contents of 100 popular cereals and found that 85 of them had “a lot” of sugar, while 40 percent had lots of salt. The study noted that the worst of the lot were marketed directly at children. It isn’t uncommon for some of the most popular brands to contain upwards of 40 percent refined sugar.
It wasn’t always this way, as William Dufty wrote in his book Sugar Blues. “Vegetables, fruits, berries, and nuts—these natural sources of what we now call vitamin C—had been sweets until concentrated, refined sugar was marketed. Sugar was an unnatural sweet that had been robbed of its vitamin C in the refining process, which was when 90 percent of the natural cane was removed.”
No wonder many diseases associated with high-sugar diets are now afflicting the young.