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Is That Right? High-Fiber Cereals Taste Better These Days

Want a fiber-filled breakfast cereal that also happens to taste delicious? Get thee to Costco for a box of Kirkland Signature Spiced Pecan cereal.

That's the only one of 18 high-fiber cereals evaluated by Consumer Reports to earn the rank of "Excellent" from the magazine's team of tasters. The Spiced Pecan cereal also got high marks for nutrition, based on Consumer Reports' crunching of the nutrition facts data on the products' labels, and for cost: just 33 cents per 3/4-cup serving.

Yes, it appears that many fiber-cereal offerings these days taste much better than they did 10 years ago, when Consumer Reports tasters found that most tasted "more like straw than grain."

Among the six cereals rated "Very Good" for taste, just three -- Kashi GoLean Crunchy Fiber Twigs, Soy Protein Grahams and Honey Puffs, Post Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat 'n Bran and Barbara's Bakery Ultima Organic -- achieved the "Very Good" nutrition rating, same as the Kirkland Spiced Pecan product. None of the cereals on the list received an "Excellent" rating for nutrition. (They were all evaluated without milk.)

(I wish I could link to the whole list for you, but it's available only to subscribers. Here's the Consumer Reports Web site on which the overview, at least, appears.)

The 18 cereals delivered between 140 and 210 calories per one-cup serving, except Fiber One Original Bran from General Mills, which is artificially sweetened with aspartame and clocks in at 60 calories per 1/2-cup serving. (Serving sizes varied according to each cereal's density; most weighed about 55 grams per serving.)

Of course, such rankings should always be taken with a grain of salt. That yummy Spiced Pecan cereal has 80 more calories, 6 more grams of sugar and 40 more milligrams of sodium per 3/4-cup serving than Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Organic High Fiber cereal, which at 110 calories and 8 grams of fiber per 1/2-cup serving received only a "fair" ranking. Then again, that Kashi GoLean cereal has 140 calories per one-cup serving, 6 grams of sugar and 85 mg of sodium and delivers an impressive 10 grams of fiber -- 3 more than the Costco Spiced Pecan.

What's your favorite high-fiber cereal? Or do you see those words on the box and steer clear?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  September 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness  
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My favorite is Colon Blow!

Posted by: WorldAffairsGeek | September 18, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Modern food engineers can make *anything* taste good ... if they want to.

But, in terms of long shelf life and cost of production, it's still *much* cheaper to make a palatable cereal out of corn syrup, sugar, and refined grains, than it is to make an equally palatable cereal out of whole grains. So the market is flooded with cheap terrible-for-you cereal, with a tiny niche market for expensive, not-quite-as-bad for you cereal (which has been getting tastier, thanks to better food engineering).

Personally, I skip all the "just add milk" boxed cereals, and instead cook up some oatmeal -- lots of fiber (including the all-important soluble fiber that most ready-to-eat cereals lack), and no added sugar. It only takes 5 minutes, and it's SO much better for you (not to mention hugely cheaper).

Posted by: DupontJay | September 18, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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