How Kellogg Lost Breakfast

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Manufacturers of processed sugar- and wheat-flour products are doing poorly in today’s increasingly enlightened climate. Kellogg which in the middle of an obesity epidemic makes its living by selling extremely sugary breakfast cereals (candy for breakfast) is an excellent example.

The cover story for the latest issue of the magazine Bloomberg Business is about their major problems:

As Americans become more health-conscious, they’re shying away from the kind of processed food baked in Kellogg’s four U.S. cereal factories. They tend to be averse to carbohydrates, which is a problem for a company selling cereal derived from corn, oats, and rice. “They basically have a carb-heavy portfolio,” says Robert Dickerson, senior packaged-food analyst at Consumer Edge.

Full article here: Who Killed Tony the Tiger? How Kellogg lost breakfast

25 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Scooze
    I feel sorry for that executive's kids. He makes them eat that shit every day.
    Reply: #6
    Read more →
  2. Boundless
    From the article:
    "He wants to rebrand Special K from a diet brand to a cereal for the health-conscious with new variants such as Special K Protein Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch. ... Bryant is also determined to restore Kashi’s credibility with health-food shoppers. Kellogg already has 15 GMO-free cereals in supermarkets."

    They clearly have no clue, and are doomed. The brand itself is so tainted that even if they introduce say, a wheat-free low-carb coconut flake cereal, no one will trust them.

    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Galina L.
    I am glad on behalf of American children. A candy bar is even a better breakfast option than most cereals.
  2. Boundless
    From the article:
    "He wants to rebrand Special K from a diet brand to a cereal for the health-conscious with new variants such as Special K Protein Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch. ... Bryant is also determined to restore Kashi’s credibility with health-food shoppers. Kellogg already has 15 GMO-free cereals in supermarkets."

    They clearly have no clue, and are doomed. The brand itself is so tainted that even if they introduce say, a wheat-free low-carb coconut flake cereal, no one will trust them.

  3. Mike
    "They're gross" is lovely!

    In fact, remembering adverts with this stupid cartoon tiger being aimed at me when I was a tiny child and in no position to know what it would do to people from the teeth downwards I have to say I'm absolutely delighted at their misfortune. That was blatantly immoral. This probably means a lot of ordinary people will lose their jobs, but then again perhaps they can find more socially useful and rewarding employment.

    The thing is that we're now finding out that what suits the imperatives of mass production, distribution and storage is not good for health. Weston Price had realised this 80 years ago, when using the phrase "the displacing foods of modern commerce". The Harvard-trained anthropologist Vilhjálmur Stefánsson made similar comments at around the same time. Stefánsson, as I recall, related that he had seen a heap of refined flour that had actually been rained upon, but that was still usable in the centre of the heap. Now the reader will understand why it's a food to ship and to trade over long distances, he said.

    I'm sugar-free and don't touch any other refined carbohydrates either. I will occasionally eat a gluten-free oatcake or something of that sort, but for the most part I simply don't touch concentrated sources of carbohydrate.

    However, though I do actually swing grain-free myself I do actually believe that if people were breakfasting off a slice or so of real sourdough bread made on the premises by a local baker from stoneground flour from heirloom cereals - and if they put plenty of butter on it and ate it with some eggs or meat - they'd be doing OK. (There actually is a baker like this in our county town.) The problem comes from dropping out all the healthy proteins and fats, leaving only the carbohydrate, and, so far as the carbohydrate goes, replacing a properly-prepared craft product with a boxed commercial product.

    IMO, Kellogs can't "correct" the problem by tweaking this or that. The whole problem is caused by people turning over their breakfasts to people who are operating on this scale, and who sell a product that suits that scale. The real solution is to go back to patronising local producers.

  4. Scooze
    I feel sorry for that executive's kids. He makes them eat that shit every day.
    Reply: #6
  5. Lori Miller
    They're really out of touch if they think a cereal with the word "sugar" in the name is going to fly off the shelves in 2015.
  6. Andrew
    Actually Scooze he probably does not! He probably knows there really just junky food and feeds them something healthier!!
  7. Scooze
    Andrew, you could be right, though they did describe it pretty well so it sounded authentic. I used to work at a giant food company (which shall remain nameless) and we all ate the products. It's easy to buy into your own hype. We were actually required to try every product every week (at least a bite) to make sure that we knew our own products. (Of course actual medical issues like a food allergy would be exempt). Anyone who works at these companies would have to keep a paleo lifestyle under wraps.
  8. Eric Anderson
    Question

    Just read a story about a study in a diabetology magazine; study reported 20 percent lower glucose and 20 percent higher insulin when higher (700 Calorie) breakfast and 200 calorie dinner than when the reverse (200 Calorie) breakfast and dinner.

    My understanding is lower insulin is the key!

    Which is better? Do we know or not know?

    Seems lower fasting and 2 hour insulin is more important!

    INPUT? Eric

  9. 1 comment removed
  10. Mike
    The point, Eric, is to become more insulin sensitive.

    (This, by the way, is what the last poster - Javonte - has not understood.)

    This is because

    "The glucose will also very much raise insulin. It will raise leptin. Ultimately that will cause leptin and insulin resistance, but more immediately, it’ll prevent you from burning fat."

    http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2013/05/12/sam-should-i-give-up-butter...

    Personally, I'd not worry about fasting too much. If you're comfortable with three meals a day, that's fine. Many societies, however, seem to have eaten only two - say, a "morning meal" an hour or two after rising and a "night meal" after work - with perhaps a snack meal in between. If you're comfortable with that, then that's fine, too.

    It certainly seems like there may be advantages to occasionally skipping a meal, or a day's meals. If someone's well adapted to burning fat, so that they can do that without distress - undue hunger, mood swings, etc. - then that might be a good strategy.

    But the major thing is simply to reduce the carbohydrate load at all meals. Current recommendations from public health bodies that should know better are ranging up to something like 65% of calories. That's insane. No historic population that has ever had any choice in the matter has ever eaten in that way. And populations that are touted as eating very high-carb without harm by the high-carb wing of the paleo movement are (a) very short and (b) have a low life-expectancy.

  11. Jim
    @Javonte, you *do* realize, that this "Beta Switch" program encompasses keeping insulin constantly low, and boosting thyroid health or glandular health/healthy hormone levels in general? LCHF does exactly the same.

    "burn more calories than you eat" is, of course, key. Thermodynamics :-p. But in order to achieve this goal, hormone levels are determinant. Calorie counting does not work, exercise alone does only help somewhat (or nothing, if eating the wrong food).

    Moreover, "Beta Switch" is commercial, keeping the key features secret unless you pay. I therefore strongly favor LCHF, where the name alone already sums up the key concept. Even though "Beta Switch" probably works and its price and strict guidance may help keeping participants conformant.

  12. alan
    Do you really believe that John Bryant eats cereal for breakfast everyday?

    This reminds me of pharmaceutical CEOs. J&J's CEO in his one of his speeches to some vets told them to exercise and avoid pharmaceuticals... I also met a high ranking person from Bayer at his large house in the context of a Alternative Natural Healing get-together. He sold the "poison" for money but did not take it himself. I suspect many are hypocrites making dirty money and "poisoning" the masses.

  13. Lori Miller
    Are you lost, little spambot?
  14. Jo tB
    The following statement struck me the most:

    In January 2014, General Mills announced GMO-free Cheerios. Post said it would release a similar version of Grape-Nuts. Kellogg says it can’t do the same with Frosted Flakes because almost all the corn made in the U.S. is genetically modified.

    And so they continue selling that sh*t. At least the public is getting wise. About time too.

    What would Monsanto do, if its biggest customer suddenly decided that it won't be buying anymore GMO products from them??????

  15. Stacy
    Isn't creative destruction and real capitalism (as opposed to the crony/corporatist type) wonderful? Manufacturers can make products people want to buy or they can go out of business. Terrific. Bye-bye Kellogs.
  16. John
    You have only to see what 'relief' workers choose first to send to countries suffering from the effects of famine. They send grains; or the 'staff of life'! Sure, this will fill bellies, and give an illusion of nutrition, but it's just smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, to make people believe that fat is not a killer is as difficult as trying to convince a committed Christian there is no god. The belief is engineered in exactly the same way. Sadly, I can't see how we will ever completely convince populations, because attitudes are caught, not taught. And Jim... I am sorry, but the laws of thermodynamics don't apply to the human digestive system, because it isn't a closed system. When someone loses weight because of 'calorie overdraft', something else is going on. The calories in = calories out theory, is yet another myth; and one as misleading as the 'fat is bad' nonsense.
    Reply: #17
  17. Jim
    John, of course is the concept of "caloric balance" a myth. Or, as Dr. Jason Fung called it: "Caloric Restriction as Primary" - the CRAP-model for weight loss. ;-)

    If calories_in > calories_out, the energy has to be saved somewhere, obviously. Because of thermodynamics. Human metabolism does not violate any laws of thermodynamics. Weight loss/gain *is* negative/positive caloric balance.

    Thus it's nonsense to talk about positive caloric balance causing weight gain. Weight gain causes weight gain?! No shit , Sherlock. :-D

    The thing is, you can't just arbitrarily tune calories_in or calories_out independently from each other. You don't even need to. That's not how organisms function. They're self-regulating. You twiddle with calories_in? Calories_out adjusts. You twiddle with calories_out? Calories_in is adjusted.

    So the question is: Why is self-regulation malfunctioning? Clearly this is not healthy - it's no lack of discipline, but a metabolic disease. Predominantly insulin resistance. But all of us know how to fix it, do we? :-)

    Reply: #18
  18. erdoke

    Human metabolism does not violate any laws of thermodynamics.

    Of course not, as these does not apply to human metabolism. "In an isolated system..."
    This is not to say that there is no role for any consideration about energetics. If you refer to Jason Fung, you should actually read the full series and understand why mentioning thermodynamics is not a good idea.

    Reply: #19
  19. Jim
    You shouldn't zero in on me mentioning thermodynamics... ;-)

    Of course it's not a good idea to describe human metabolism in terms of thermodynamics. Because to do this right, the model would need to become unmanageably complex.

    Nevertheless, the laws of thermodynamics apply also to human metabolism, as an *open* thermodynamic system, however multifaceted it may be. They are, for this reason, not particularly helpful in losing weight.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamic_system#Open_system

    Concerning thermodynamics, I'm actually not referring to Dr. Jason Fung, but to Dr. Peter Attia:

    The First Law of Thermodynamics is not being violated by anything I am about to explain, including the Alternative Hypothesis. - http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/do-calories-matter

  20. Murray
    The first law of thermodynamics is not helpful because we don't know all the parameters or how to measure them. What constitutes a calorie in? Something that goes down the throat, or something that crosses the gut barrier? If down the throat, how much is consumed by gut bacteria? How much is excreted in feces? If you mean cross the gut barrier, how much of calories are lost in urine, or excreted from the liver back into the gut.

    Variables such as how food is cooked vary the amount that crosses the gut barrier. For example, Wrangham (Catching Fire) cites experiments where cooking meat increased caloric availability by about 12%, mincing meat likewise increased about 12%, and the combination increased availability by about 20%.

    Then there are differing effects on the metabolism derived from gene-responses to the types of calories eaten. Then there is the effect of chronically elevated insulin. The effect of nutrient composition on leptin sensitivity and appetite. The effect of nutrient composition on the composition of gut bacteria and a plethora of influences on appetite and behaviour from gut bacteria that are being discovered.

    So the first law of thermodynamics is not untrue or violated--it just has no practical value with regard to the questions that genuinely concern people about diet. Rather, it is used as ideology of false scientific air to rationalize consumption of poisons like acellular sugar.

    This study is noteworthy, linking added sugar to increased heart disease.
    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2174010&utm_c...

    Here is the important point. Note that the negative effect of sugar was despite exercise, otherwise healthy eating or BMI. This fundamentally undermines the soft drink advertising ideology that you simpley need to exercise more--you know, calories in, calories out. The slogan of the devil.

    "Adjusted HRs were 1.30 (95% CI, 1.09-1.55) and 2.75 (1.40-5.42; P = .004), respectively, comparing participants who consumed 10.0% to 24.9% or 25.0% or more calories from added sugar with those who consumed less than 10.0% of calories from added sugar. These findings were largely consistent across age group, sex, race/ethnicity (except among non-Hispanic blacks), educational attainment, physical activity, health eating index, and body mass index."

  21. Murray
    Regarding gluten grains, Dr. Fasano's recent research (using intestinal biopsies) show everyone suffers leaky gut from the gliadin in gluten. Some more than others.

    "Effect of gliadin on permeability of intestinal biopsy explants from celiac disease patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity."
    Nutrients. 2015 Feb 27;7(3):1565-76. doi: 10.3390/nu7031565.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25734566/

    "CONCLUSIONS: Increased intestinal permeability after gliadin exposure occurs in all individuals."

  22. Lori Miller
    As others have said, of course the laws of thermodynamics apply to humans: energy isn't created or destroyed by human digestion. It's just that, for a closed system (which the first law applies to), you'd need to include, for the "calories out" part, heat and waste, along with everything else your body does internally with the energy--not just average metabolism for someone of x height and weight + exercise. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong--it's been some years since my two semesters of thermo.)

    Thermodynamics was developed to help design engines, not for application to organisms. Endocrinology provides a much better way of understanding metabolism. Hence, it puzzles me why people sometimes trot out the subject in discussions of diet.

    Reply: #23
  23. Zepp
    One need to count futile cycles and how it is regulated for instance!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futile_cycle

    If one is young healty and forward, ones TEE is often increasing by extra calories and both by heat and that one get dificult to sit still.

  24. Jim
    Thanks, Murray. The studies you mentioned were new to me. One can hardly overstate the importance of these findings...

    Lori, I'm pretty sure you're right. While thermodynamic laws certainly apply to human metabolism, using them to approach the problem of body weight homeostasis seems not very wise (to say the least).

    On the other hand I'm getting the impression, that engineers actually are pretty good in... sorting things out (they're doing that for a living). Even when it comes to human metabolism. Many outstanding low carb bloggers are engineers (or analytically thinking health professionals) - probably because engineers can differentiate between working solutions and unsubstantiated nonsense. And then: How is one supposed to understand endocrinology, when not understanding meshed control loops? ;-)

  25. Lori Miller
    The most brilliant analogy of how useless it is to apply thermodynamics to metabolism comes from physicist Dave Dixon over at the Spark of Reason blog in a post called "on taubes and toilets."
  26. Jim
    Genius! I LOL'd, hard. :-D

    He's 100% right, he knows physics - and I like his discreet sarcasm.

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