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Morning chill

(article, Kim Carlson)

Cold cereal may be the breakfast of champions, but it’s not the breakfast of Anastacia Marx de Salcedo. Writing this week on Salon, Marx de Salcedo shines a white-hot light on the popular American foodstuff — a $9 billion business, she says — calling it America's "most quintessential food.” 

But her assessment is anything but appetizing:

bq. Test-drive this cuddly recipe, home bakers: Take oat flour, corn starch, sugar, salt, vitamin E, trisodium phosphate (also used to prep wood for painting), calcium carbonate and that old food-industry standby "Natural Flavors" (not!). Mix with water to form a slurry (a sticky paste) and ram into a narrow chamber with a long, twisted screw, until it shoots out an O-shaped orifice at the other end. Slice into toroids (that's doughnut shapes to you), load into puffer and explode under 200 psi. Voilà! Cheerios!

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The piece goes on to explain why and how all the vitamins are extracted from the base ingredients of cold cereal, then added back into the stuff as a final touch:

bq. As at the gas pump, there are three levels of vitamin and mineral recovery. Enrichment replaces the nutrients lost in processing. Fortification adds more than were there in the first place. And then there's hypervitaminosis, on the theory that more is always better, even if it causes vomiting, fatigue and hair loss. In fact, breakfast cereal was one of the very first "phoods" — an edible product that claims a medical benefit — and it still dominates the category, comprising 30 percent of all nutraceuticals sold, according to Packaged Facts, a division of

If that doesn’t make your stomach turn, perhaps the suggestion of so much sugar first thing in the morning will. Marx de Salcedo points out that a Krispy Kreme doughnut has less than half the sugar of a bowl of Post Raisin Bran. 

“It's time to overthrow the breakfast cereal regime,” she says. 

Amen. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater; there are good cereals, too, you know.

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