|vs.||Uncle Sam Cereal|
After I turned 7, I stopped eating frosted sugar bombs artificially-flavored
breakfast cereal made with non-terrestial foodstuffs for breakfast. My preferred
cereal was Quaker Oat Life,
which not only tasted good, but had seemingly benign ingredients. It had become
a staple though even my college years.
In 1997, the Marketing Geniuses at Quaker wanted to replace Mikey (who I assume
was now in his 40s). While they were at it, they were going to improve upon
the flavor. You know where this is going: the “new and improved” cereal
had an awful malt flavor. I actually took the time to write in a complaint.
Apparently a lot of other people felt the same way as Quaker quietly reintroduced
the original flavor a year afterwards.
Fast forward to 2003. My kids like Quaker Oat Life,
and I am thirtysomething deliberately looking for cereals with more fiber.
While sitting at the table, I had both Life and
Oat Bran boxes next to each other and wondered what the differences were between
the cereals. Since I was after fiber, I thought it would be worthwhile looking
at a cereal reknowned for its fiber content… Uncle Sam.
So, in the spirit of Rob Cockerham,
here is a comparison of what’s inside:
*Safeway, added for Rob’s benefit.
Albertson’s is cheaper. Also, taste is highly subjective.
It’s interesting to note that the serving size for Life is very
small. Giving Quaker the benefit of the doubt, we’ll conjecture it’s
because kids, the primary demographic of Life,
would eat less. For ease of comparison, we’ll adjust the serving size of
Life to be the same size as that of Oat
Bran. Based on experience, this is not unreasonable. All units are
in grams(*) unless
I’ve deliberately left off the vitamins and minerals because I feel that
unless you’re eating a really terrible diet or have a medical condition (like
being pregnant), you probably don’t need additional vitamin supplementation.
Furthermore, too much of some vitamins can have bad effects on the body.
For example, excess iron (essential for hemoglobin production) is linked
to heart disease, and is added because the grains are usually stripped of
the bran. (Go figure)
|Uncle Sam Cereal||The winner…|
|Box size (g)||439||284|
|Serving Size (g)||57||57||55|
|Dietary Fiber||6||4||10||Uncle Sam!|
And now we come to the brass tacks, what’s inside. Uncle Sam goes for simplicity,
and delivers, very well, on the fiber promise — almost 20% by weight! Oat
Bran has more fiber and less sugar than Life.
Uncle Sam “loses” in the fat department, but only if you’re looking
at total fat and not the composition.
|Life||Oat Bran||Uncle Sam|
|Key:||Whole Oat Flour||Oat Bran||Whole Wheat Kernels|
|Coloring||Sugar||Whole wheat flour||Whole Flaxseed|
|Preservative||Corn flour||Sugar||Barley Malt|
|Vitamin||Whole wheat flour||Corn flour||Salt|
|Good||Rice flour||Baking soda||Niacin|
|Not Good||Salt||Calcium carbonate||Thiamin|
|Sodium phosphate (dough conditioner)||Caramel color|
|Reduced iron||Reduced iron|
|Niacinamide||Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C)|
|Yellow 5||Vitamin E acetate|
|Yellow 6||Vitamin A palmitate|
|Thiamin mononitrate||Thiamin mononitrate|
|Pyridoxine hydrochloride||Pyridoxine hydrochloride|
|Folic acid||Folic acid|
Conclusions: I was surprised how much I liked Uncle Sam
Cereal. It wins on value, fiber, and pronouncable ingredients. Oat Bran has
a slight edge to Life in nutrition, but is slightly more expensive per serving. My kids still prefer Life having identified it as a brand they know. (That’s a scary thought.)
(*) Jimmy Carter made me do this 😉