Post claims its new Great Grains cereals are better than competing brands’ because they are “less processed.”
Is that right?
The Web site featuring the Great Grains line, which includes a cranberry almond crunch version, one with crunchy pecans and another with raisins, dates and pecans, explains that, “Rather than grinding our wheat into flour and then stamping it into uniform flakes, Great Grains ... gently steams, rolls, and bakes our whole wheat. Keeping the whole grain whole means that you enjoy better nutrition.”
Indeed, the Nutrition Facts panel reflects favorably upon these cereals: Whole grain wheat is listed as the first ingredient, followed by raisins, whole grain rolled oats and dates. Brown sugar comes next; there aren’t any objectionable ingredients in the mix. Without milk, a 3/4-cup serving of these cereals has about 200 calories (the crunchy pecan kind has 210) and supplies 20 percent of your daily fiber and just about 2/3 of the whole grains you should consume in a day. Enriched flours included in the mix contribute to a nice tally of vitamins and minerals.
But what about that gentle treatment of the whole grain? Does it really matter whether the kernel remains intact or is milled into flour?
“That’s an intriguing question, one on which the jury is still out,” says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies at the Whole Grains Council. Harriman points to recent research into the effects on appetite of foods made from whole kernel grains versus those made from flour milled from whole kernels. That study found little difference in the foods’ effects on appetite, though the whole-kernel porridge eaten at breakfast did seem to keep people feeling full hours later.
Beyond any potential effects on hunger and satiety, Harriman says, the two forms of whole grain “have the same nutrient content, the same fiber.”
Which is not to say that Great Grains aren’t great. “It’s still head and shoulders above what most people are eating,” Harriman notes. “I would hate to do anything to discourage anyone from eating a good whole-grain cereal.”