A False Start for a Strong Heart

We all want to start the day with a hardy breakfast that will keep us strong, energized and healthy. So when we’re grocery shopping and we see a cereal whose front label practically screams…

“Hey! This is a smart and healthy way to start your day — it’s so smart we even named it Smart Start!”

…we naturally assume that this cereal must really be… well, a Smart Start, right?


The eBrandAid Golden Rule says: Don’t get sucked in by big-letter front label claims that sound too good to be true! Front labels are pure advertising, folks, and many food manufacturers just don’t have your best interest at heart. Pardon the pun!

Case in point: Kellogg’s Smart Start Strong Heart Cereal, Original


Calories 230, fat 2g, sodium 140mg, potassium 380mg, fiber 5g, sugar 17g

Ingredients: Oat Bran, Rice, Sugar, Oat Clusters (Sugar, Toasted Oats [Rolled Oats, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Molasses, Honey], Wheat Flakes, Crisp Rice [Rice, Sugar, Malt, Salt], Corn Syrup, Polydextrose, Honey, Cinnamon, BHT for Freshness, Artificial Vanilla Flavor), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Malt Flavoring, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Baking Soda, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), BHT (Preservative), Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D.

Kellogg’s must have been bowling for gullible shoppers when they named their new “heart-healthy” cereal Smart Start Strong Heart. Who wouldn’t trust a cereal like that? Besides its lyrical title, this cereal promises to lower blood pressure and cholesterol — the two leading causes of heart disease. Wow!

They even go so far as to insinuate that they are leading the race to provide America with a heart-healthy cereal. But after our food sleuths decoded the ingredients list, we determined that the only thing Kellogg’s is leading America with is a False Start!

Decoding the Fine Print

The cereal did start off strong. It was certified by the American Heart Association. But we have to ask – did the AHA take the time to note all the junk additives listed on the ingredients list?

Kellogg’s did include oat bran as the first ingredient, which is a great source of whole grains and fiber. Unfortunately, the rest of the vitamins are added rather than coming from REAL food sources. With 12 junk ingredients clogging up the label, there’s simply no room for real foods that might actually encourage a stronger heart. Take a look:

  • Sugar, or some form of it, is listed 7 times (one of our least favorite junk ingredients — High Fructose Corn Syrup — is listed twice!)
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is code for trans fats, and yet they clearly state on the Nutrition Facts Label that there are zero trans fats. This cereal is quickly losing credibility.
  • Polydextrose is added – probably to boost the fiber count!
  • Artificial vanilla flavor…enough said.
  • BHT, a suspected human carcinogen, is listed twice as a preservative.

We love oat bran. But when it’s combined with all these other harmful ingredients, it doesn’t add up to a smart start or a strong heart. Nice try, smartypants.

Reality Check

Our food sleuth’s have once again proved to us that you can never judge a food by its cover. If you want a smart start to your day, try this Brand Doctor favorite:


A steaming hot bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal that’s made with skim milk and topped with fresh blueberries.

With this nutritious powerhouse you’ll get:

  • Soluble fiber from all natural sources!
  • A natural array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!
  • A great source of natural protein, iron and complex carbohydrates!

In other words, this breakfast will lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, control weight, lower blood pressure, and even shrink the threat of certain cancers.

We can’t think of a smarter way to start your day.

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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