A dear friend of mine just learned she needs a heart catheter because of a blockage - nothing major yet but she’s often out of breath and has some minor chest discomfort. “But I eat right,” was her comment to a mutual friend, “I don’t eat fried foods at all.” With all the information out there between magazines, newspapers, television, radio, billboards and the INTERNET ... why are people still so ill-informed? Ah, a simple question with a complicated answer. Is it that they just plain don’t want to know? Or that available information is just so confusing they don't know where to begin or what to believe? Or is it that they believe the only option is to take a pill (the side effects aren’t THAT bad, right) and stop eating fried foods. When will we take the initiative to take better care of ourselves? I ask myself that same question sometimes and no, I’m not perfect ... I have my downfalls, too!
While shopping the other day, I noticed the hype on a box of Cheerios which prompted me to do a bit of research. The question: Does eating a bowl of Cheerios really reduce your cholesterol? Well, despite what television commercials tell you, and according to a site I found, it’s not so simple ...
Consumers don’t be fooled!
Soluble fiber plays a major role in lowering high cholesterol. Specifically, Cheerios a leading brand of cereal has had minimal effects on lowering blood cholesterol levels. The recommended intake of 3g of soluble fiber or more can substantially lower blood cholesterol if consumed in addition to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Therefore, Cheerios recommends that eating 1-1/2 cups twice a day or roughly 3 cups of Cheerios per day Cheerios will lower blood cholesterol because the cereal only contains 1g of soluble fiber per cup. This means that consumers would have to eat 3 bowls of Cheerios per day in order to obtain its positive effects of soluble fiber. However, while adding fiber to their diet, consumers would also be adding sugar and three times as many calories. Thus, eating 3 cups of Cheerios in order to achieve the recommended 3g of soluble fiber is not a practical approach. Therefore, Cheerios does not realistically produce the substantial benefits of lowering cholesterol as advertised by General Mills.
Disappointed? Well, remember the old adage,“There’s a sucker born every minute” – erroneously quoted by P.T. Barnum (yeah, he never really said that - I thought he did, too!), well, it’s not that we’re really suckers, but rather so desperate to find answers that it’s easy to want to believe what we read ... including right here!! I have to believe it is not anyone’s intention to purposely mislead, but come on! Do we really believe a bowl of cold cereal with cow’s milk is the answer to a healthy heart? Of course not, but wouldn’t it be nice? Even the ad for Cheerios says you have to have a low fat diet in addition to the cereal, but it does not mention the need for exercise, reduced sugar, a wide variety of colorful foods, etc. But, should it have to? Don’t we know better? Is it really anyone’s responsibility to take us by the hand and walk us through the tons of misguided, misleading, and erroneous information? NO! Once again, it’s up to us! And, the information is plentiful. Recently, my sister was told she had high cholesterol. I gave her the best information I had and she countered with an article offering the opposite information! It’s so easy with the Internet, to find the answer YOU WANT rather than the truth! And what is the truth? Again and again we read one thing here and another there. If it’s written it must be true? Don’t believe everything your read ... check it out for yourself ... ask yourself “Does what I’m reading make sense?” And remember, new findings happen all the time ... stay in touch ... question the findings ... prove it for yourself. You know best!
So, my friends, here’s the bottom line ... and I know you’ve heard it before ... IT’S UP TO US! Moderation ... wide variety of colorful foods ... low fat ... low sugar ... eating to live and not living to eat ... moderation (yeah, I know I already said that, but it’s very important - and my biggest downfall) ... exercise (at least 30 minutes a day - yeah, another downfall of mine) ... blah, blah, blah ... you know the drill.
Got a comment? Feel free to share your thoughts ... I’d love to hear from you.
I am ...
... a former blogger for a health site, which means eating healthy aka heart smart
which has become a passion for me. I will start at the beginning when I first
discovered I had high cholesterol.