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Cheerios Protein Cereal - Protein Miracle or Hype?

The prominent end cap display at the store filled with boxes of Cheerios Protein cereal caught my eye just Cheerios proteinlike it was meant to do.  I'm known to have little snack baggies of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios handy at all times--like Moms do for their toddlers, to combat crunchy snack attacks and the need for a quick burst of carbs on the go that are light on the stomach for my frequent Group Fitness Instructor role. 

Cheerios with more protein?  This I wanted to see.

The first step was to carefully eyeball the packaging and here was General Mills' first marketing trick--below the big "Cheerios Protein" label, the big 11 grams of protein featured in the circle below these words had the added qualifier "with milk."  Aha, so someone reading the package fast sees 11 grams of protein and thinks, "wow, they really fortified those cheerios with that protein!"  Not really--that half cup of skim milk they are assuming you're having with the Cheerios Protein, accounts for four of the seven grams of protein.  So the cereal needs a milk buddy to get to that 11 grams of protein claim, as the Cheerios Protein really has just seven grams of protein.

But wait the trickery goes further!


I have to admit, my husband shouted out this next labeling trick just as I was about to get the words out myself.  I've taught him well, no doubt. Fist pump to you! 

The portion size on the Protein Cherrios indicates that you need one and a quarter cups or 55 grams to get the seven gram serving of protein.  Well did you know that Original Cheerios has three grams of protein in one cup or 28 grams of cereal?  So a 56 gram portion (one gram in weight more than Original Cheerios) has six grams of protein without being dubbed "Cheerios Protein."

And in case you were wondering, that same size serving of Original Cheerios (56 grams) is 200 calories, four grams of fat and six grams of fiber vs. 210 calories and six grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber for Cheerios Protein in the Oats and Honey flavor, and 220 calories, 9 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber for the Cinnamon Almond.  Without the addition of milk, Cheerios Protein for all its hype in either flavor is just one gram of protein higher, but two to 5 grams higher in fat depending upon the flavor

So when you really take the time to check out the label, Cheerios Protein is just a marketing angle on good old Original Cheerios, and it needs help from milk to get to the advertising claim on the box of 11 grams that you may not notice on a quick glance.  Ultimately the decision to buy Cheerios Protein over Original Cheerios will come down to taste preference, and price.

It just goes to show you, whether you're trying to lose weight or maintain weight, it always pays to read product advertising claims on packaging extremely carefully and with a healthy dose of skepticism, read the Nutrition Facts label carefully and make sure you're comparing apples to apples...or in this case, Cheerios to Cheerios!  

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Melanie Jordan

Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Weight Loss Coach and Weight Management Expert

Melanie Jordan is a Wellcoaches and ACE Certified Health and Wellness Coach specializing in weight loss and weight management and an ACE Group Fitness Certified and licensed Zumba and Zumba Gold Instructor, Turbo Kick, Ageless Grace, Silver Sneakers FLEX Classic and Circuit Instructor.  


The views expressed on The Healthy Food Review Blog are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.

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