Craig Leonard

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Investigation: Breakfast Cereal “Fruits” and “Berries” Are Nothing But Unhealthy Chemical Concoctions

Craig Leonard March 18, 2014
Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Featured

This is a guest post contributed by Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams. Mike is the Food Research Director for Forensic Food Labs and Editor of

Call it consumer fraud! Many of the “fruits” used in popular breakfast cereals are really just fake fruits made out of refined factory ingredients like:

• Artificial coloring chemicals
• GMO corn starch
• GMO soybean oil
• Corn syrup solids

So which breakfast cereals can you really trust to deliver REAL fruits versus FAKE fruits?

In this investigation, we examine nine popular cereals. In each picture below, you’ll see the cereal box image, a microscopy photo of the “fruit” in the cereal, and a snapshot of the ingredients label.

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Cheats

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Frosted Mini Wheats

Don’t trust the cereal box to tell the truth!

As you can see on this box of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats, the front of the box shows a picture of fresh strawberries. But the cereal doesn’t contain any strawberries. Instead, it contains petrochemical-derived food coloring chemicals and soybean oil almost certainly derived from GMOs.

The box claims the cereal is made from “100% Whole Grain” but never mentions the artificial chemical colors, corn syrup, soybean oil or questionable ingredients. The box imagery also falsely implies that you’re buying and eating real strawberries, and this same deception is repeated across nearly all popular cereals.

In fact, this microscope image shows that the “strawberries” in Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats are really just artificially colored bits containing no real fruit at all!

As you can see from the ingredients label shown on the right, the real ingredients used to fake the strawberries in Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats are:

• Corn syrup
• Artificial flavor
• Soybean oil (most likely from GMOs)
• Gelatin
• Citric acid (most likely from GMOs)
• Red #40 (artificial coloring chemical)
• Blue #2 (artificial coloring chemical)
• Blue #1 (artificial coloring chemical)

That’s not fruit! When you eat Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats, you’re eating a mouth full of chemicals! That’s why I think the product name should be changed to Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-CHEATS!

No blueberries found in Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Cheats Blueberry cereal

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Blueberry Mini Wheats

The Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Blueberry cereal is no better, by the way: It contains no blueberries!

Instead, you get the usual artificial coloring chemicals, sorbitol, soybean oil and a toxic chemical preservative called “BHT” which is described as being used “for freshness” to make it sound delightful instead of toxic.

The front panel of the cereal box depicts a small Mini-Cheat character juggling three blueberries, adding to the charade which attempts to fraudulently imply the cereal is made with real blueberries.

Cap’n Crunch “All Berries” contains no berries!

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Crunch Berries

Check out this deceptive labeling on Cap’n Crunch cereals. The very name of the cereal claims it to be “All Berries,” the the cereal is shaped and colored in order to invoke a visual response from human brains which are hard-wired to be on the lookout for fresh, brightly-colored berries in nature.

But a closer examination of one of these berries under the microscope (see center picture, above) reveals an artificial starchy concoction that looks more like glowing kyptonite than a real piece of fruit. So what, exactly, are these Cap’n Crunch “berries” really made of?

Although there’s a small amount of “strawberry juice concentrate” in the product, it’s mostly made from:

• Corn flour (most likely GMO)
• Sugar (highly refined and stripped of minerals)
• Artificial colors like red #40, yellow #5 and blue #1

Even the added B vitamins are added as isolated chemicals, not as food-based nutrients derived from nature. What’s funny is that Cap’n Crunch is a PIRATE, of course, and his cereal is literally pirating Mother Nature by trying to fake berries and vitamins.

Froot Loops: Not even spelled like fruit!

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Froot Loops

Froot Loops cereal is another big fake. Although it implies it’s made from real fruit, there’s actually no fruit found in a box of Froot Loops!

Instead, you get five different artificial colors, one for each fake “fruit” in the box:

• Yellow #5
• Red #40
• Yellow #6
• Blue #2
• Blue #1

Plus, as a bonus, Froot Loops gives you partially-hydrogenated genetically modified soybean and / or cottonseed oil, just in case your arteries aren’t clogged up enough.

Oh, and did you notice the No. 1 ingredient in this cereal is SUGAR? There’s more sugar in it than there is corn flour!

TOTAL Blueberry Pomegranate cereal contains no blueberries or pomegranates

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Total Blueberry Pomegranate

When the deception geniuses at General Mills wanted to launch a new TOTAL cereal named “Blueberry Pomegranate,” they decided the cereal would be a heckuva lot more profitable if they didn’t put any actual blueberries or pomegranates in it.

And thus was hatched the TOTAL con job cereal shown here in all its fraudulent glory. A quick glance at the ingredients list reveals the cereal contains no fruit whatsoever.

It does, however, contain the chemical sweetener Sucralose, plus a long list of different sugars and artificial colors. Notice the complete lack of pomegranates or blueberries in all this?

Apparently the people at General Mills think customers are TOTAL idiots for buying their cereals because, apparently, everybody is too stupid to notice there’s no actual fruit inside.

Under the microscope, we couldn’t find anything that even looked like a piece of fruit. The closest object we found was this nugget that looks like a shriveled alien fetus of some kind…

Blueberry bits are made from dextrose and palm oil!

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Mixed Berry Shredded Wheat

Have you ever wondered what blueberries are really made of? According to the HEB company, a large grocery chain in Texas, “blueberry and pomegranate bits” are made of:

• Dextrose
• Palm oil
• Corn flour
• Natural flavor
• Citric acid
• Color extracts

Once again, there is no actual fruit found in this box of cereal. Even the formulators seemed to be totally confused as to which fruit they were trying to fake, exactly, because there are raspberries shown on the front of the box but the fake ingredients say “pomegranate bits” which aren’t shown anywhere.

That’s the thing about committing product fraud: you have to remember to keep your story straight so that your fraud is consistent. Otherwise, it just looks stupid.

Kellogg’s Special-K actually uses real strawberries!

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Special K Red Berries

Apparently the Kellogg’s company does know what real fruit looks like because they put some of it in their Special K “Red Berries” cereal.

As you can see from the ingredients label, this cereal contains “freeze-dried strawberries” and doesn’t have to resort to all the artificial coloring chemicals typically used to fraudulently depict counterfeit fruit bits. Notice the cereal also contains no BHT preservative?

Post Blueberry Morning actually contains blueberries!

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Blueberry Morning

On yet another positive note, the Post cereal company actually uses real fruit in some of their cereals.

Their “Blueberry Morning” cereal really does contain blueberries, as it shown right on the ingredients label. And sure enough, under a high-powered microscope, you can find the actual blueberries.

There is so much fraud and deception in the food industry these days, that finding actual fruit is a rarity!

The best real fruit cereal of all: Erewhon Strawberry Crisp

Unhealthy Breakfast Cereals - Erewhon Strawberry Crisp

If you’re really looking for honest cereal made with actual fruit and not a bunch of toxic chemicals, look no further than Erewhon Strawberry Crisp.

The strawberries are 100% real (and plentiful), the first three ingredients are organic, and the front of the box shows a photo of what’s actually in the cereal instead of using deceptive fruit images like most other cereals.

Aside from all that, Erewhon is an honest company making simple, honest cereal products across the board. When you buy cereal, you vote with your dollars. So vote for honest companies every change you can get!

Why can cereal companies commit total FRAUD?

If I sold you a “Box of Fruit” that didn’t contain any actual fruit, such a deceptive act would rightly be considered fraud. But when cereal companies do the same thing, it’s considered “business as usual.”

The FDA does nothing about it, allowing these deceptions to continue in the marketplace while tens of millions of consumers are deceived and swindled. Even the FTC, which regulates product marketing and advertising, seems completely uninterested in the massive fruit fraud taking place on every grocery store shelf across America.

Apparently, product fraud is perfectly acceptable if you’re a large enough food corporation.

After all, if consumers are too stupid to check the ingredients before buying (and eating!) these cereals, why should food manufacturers bother to use genuine ingredients in the first place?

In the minds of big food corporations, Americans are truly complete morons who will eat almost anything as long as it’s artificially colored and shaped to resemble a piece of fruit.

Note: Any opinions and views conveyed within this or any other guest posting on this site do not necessarily reflect my views or the views of anyone associated with

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