The second edition of rants and praise takes a look at the World Without Dieting campaign that is being waged in Canada by a major corporation in the food industry. We can expect to see more and more of this kind of misleading advertising as we make the shift to spending more of our food dollars on heathier food.

A maker of sugar-filled breakfast cereals for kids is behind the world without dieting campaign. General Mills Canada runs this anti-dieting campaign along with TV ads for multigrain cheerios and General Mills is asking all of us to join them in their campaign to create a world without dieting.


A World Without Dieting

Running a campaign like a world without dieting could be an admirable cause, except for one thing – the current obesity epidemic, which is considered to be one of the biggest health challenges of all time. Never before have such a large number of people been at risk from one common health condition.

As of 2004, two thirds of the population in developed countries has a weight problem and one third is considered obese. For the first time in history, we have an obesity problem with children.

Interestingly enough, one of the best food choices you could make if you have a weight problem would be to cut breakfast cereals with added sugar, like multigrain cheerios, from your diet.

overweight and obesity rates

As you can see in the chart, the obesity rate for adults is up over 50 percent. For children however, the obesity rate has tripled in the last 40 years.

Most of the excess calories in the modern diet come from added sugars in processed foods like multigrain cheerios which is 20 percent sugar according to the nutrition label. What makes a breakfast cereal like this such a fat-promoting choice is that a whopping 96 percent of the calories come from carbohydrates, which as you know, convert to glucose once you eat them.

It’s like eating a bowl of sugar for breakfast. Breakfast cereals with lots of added sugar are one of the worst choices you can make for breakfast if you have a weight problem.

Too Many Empty Calories

According to nutrition guidelines, we should be consuming between 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day. Most of us in living in developed countries are consuming much more than that because of all the added sugars in convenience foods. The following chart was constructed using information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and highlights current calorie consumption trends around the world.


Global Per Capita Food Consumption


The chart clearly shows that we consume too many calories and we can also see the increase in calories being consumed since the mid-60s when convenience foods became a bigger part of our diet. The combination of added sugars and too many refined carbohydrates is what is driving the excess in calorie consumption and it’s a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.


Bad Timing And Bad Intentions

General Mills claims that young girls are being attacked by dietainment ads and that this is what motivates their campaign. The website headlines statements like “Let’s stop unhealthy diet messages from reaching young girls” and “At Multi-Grain Cheerios, our goal is to create a world without dieting for the next generation.”

What is particularly offensive is that this campaign runs along with TV ads that encourage children to eat unhealthy, sugar-filled cheerios for breakfast! A 30 gram (1 cup) serving of multigrain cheerios contains 6g of sugar and only 3g of fiber and 2g of protein. 96 percent of the calories come from refined carbohydrates.

It’s ok to have carbs in your diet but they need to be accompanied by lots of fiber to reduce the glycemic effect and they should also be accompanied by a significant amount of protein and fat to provide a balanced diet.

A World Without Dieting

It’s no secret that sales of breakfast cereals are down across the board, as are sales of sugar-filled drinks. With decreasing sales, we can expect to see more food producers disguising ads as health-promoting campaigns in an effort to garner public trust and associate their product with a healthy lifestyle.

As more of us continue to make healthier food choices we will hopefully see a day when fewer people are overweight and dieting becomes much less necessary. It won’t be because of campaigns by breakfast cereal manufacturers though, it will be in spite of them.



Chris Kresser offers some interesting points to consider about consuming coconut milk. It’s a favorite in the paleo crowd but it isn’t suited to everyone and as usual, you need to pay attention to how you buy it.

Neuroscience News offers some insight into Parkinson’s disease in this article titled “Parkinson’s disease may begin in the gastrointestinal tract and spread through the vagus nerve to the brain.” A close read of the article shows much more research needs to be done in this area.

Mind Body Green carried this excellent article about the dangers of a diet made up of foods that have a lot of added sugar. This ties in well with my rant about foods like breakfast cereals that contain so much added sugar.

It is estimated that many people consume 40 teaspoons of sugar a day and Damon Gameau wanted to see if it made any difference where the sugar came from. The 40 teaspoons a day can be hidden sugars found in foods like low-fat yogurt, cereals, muesli bars, juices, sports drinks and assorted condiments.

As one would expect, too much sugar from any source isn’t good and Damon Gameau “gained 19 pounds, developed pre-type 2 diabetes and heart disease risks, had an extra four inches of dangerous visceral fat around his belly” within 60 days of going on a high sugar diet.

Richard David Feinman provides an informed view on meta-analysis studies. He says in part “meta-analysis is to analysis what metaphysics is to physics.” This is definitely worth a read given the growing popularity of meta-analysis studies in recent years.