September 29, 2007 at 4:33AM
by Marion Nestle
My neighborhood grocery store is displaying a wall of Cheerios boxes with this banner over the inevitable heart: "You can lower your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks (see back for details)." I immediately turned to the back to learn that "Cheerios is the only leading cold cereal clinically proven to lower cholesterol. A clinical study showed that eating two 1 and 1/2 cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol." I like Cheerios, but come on? What clinical study? A footnote gives the reference to a study published in Nutrition in Clinical Care (1998;1:6-12). I immediately went to look for it but alas, the journal ceased publication in 2005
and is not available online or in the NYU or Cornell libraries. Want to take a guess at who might have funded the study? The Nutrition Action Healthletter
talked about the study. Surprise! It was funded by General Millsâ-in 2005. The FDA used to be able to demand serious scientific substantiation for health claims like this one, but no more. Congress says one study is sufficient, no matter how old, who designed it, or who paid for it
. The courts say advertising is a form of free speech and protected by the First Amendment. Caveat emptor. More Marion Nestle posts: Out With Junk Food - Part 1 - June 2 Out With Junk Food - Part 2 - June 6 Out With Junk Food - Part 3 - June 28 Out With Junk Food - Part 4 - July 11 Out With Junk Food - Part 5 - July 18 Bored With Food Recalls? You're Not Alone - July 25 The Whole Grains Mess
- August 3 Raw Milk Or Raw Deal?
- August 8 Nutrition Policies To Prevent Cancer?
- August 28 Food Additives and Hyperactivity, Again!
- September 11