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Product Review: Kashi High Fibre Flakes & Granola Cereal

Posted Dec 05 2008 12:39am 2 Comments
Day Five of the100 Reps Challenge

20 calf raises
20 tricep kickbacks

Repeat this set 5 times (your choice: do them all at once or spread them across the day) for a total of 100 calf raises and 100 tricep kickbacks!

Fitness Tip: Hold a dumbbell or two at chest height while performing the calf raises for a more advanced exercise.

Product Review: Kashi High Fibre Flakes & Granola Cereal

You all know that I'm not big on cereals and packaged/processed foods when it comes to health (taste is another matter entirely- I'm a big cereal fan in that regard!), but when this Kashi cereal recently found its way into my pantry I was eager to try it. For the benefit of reviewing it for all of you, of course (ha!).

I like the packaging of this cereal. The photo on the front is very appealing, showing a bunch of differently shaped grains with varying textures. The back of the box is very informative as it briefly describes each of the seven grains in the cereal, and a cute little haiku is included near the bottom of the box! "A breath of fresh air/For growth and new beginnings/Kashi is for life".

So much for the packaging, let's move onto nutritional information. Ingredients: Wheat bran, granola (whole grain oats, whole grain wheat, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, crisp rice [rice flour, evaporated cane juice, malt extract, salt], evaporated cane juice syrup, expeller pressed canola oil, waxy maize starch, salt, honey, natural flavours, mixed tocopherols [natural vitamin E] added for freshness), evaporated cane juice syrup, yellow corn meal, con flour, seven grain and sesame flour (whole grain oats, hard red winter wheat, rye, brown rice, triticale, barley buckwheat, sesame seeds), corn bran, oat fibre, wheat bran, soy protein concentrate, expeller pressed canola oil, salt, natural flavours, annatto colour.

That is a long list. And although all of these are natural ingredients (although I'm uncertain about that last ingredient- colour? Usually that is not a good thing in any food product. I'll have to look into that one; if anyone has any knowledge about it please do inform us about this particular ingredient!), various forms of sugar is listed at least half a dozen times. That's a lot of added sugar! Granted, this is a cereal, and compared to other cereals, it's pretty decent. That being said, I view cereal as something of a treat. Eating cereal every day isn't what I would consider a particularly "healthy" thing to do. Health ier than many other options, yes. But not necessarily healthy.

The nutrition facts table shows 210 calories per cup (a little high), and 10g sugar (far too high), but also 7g fibre (very decent). The nutrition claims state "very high source of fibre" (check), "low fat" (not so impressive; cereal will be low fat unless there's lots of nuts in there), "low saturated fat" (see note for "low fat"), "trans fat free" (not very impressive at all- everythingshould be trans fat free), "low sodium" (check), source of 10 essential nutrients (half check- why not go all the way and try to be a good or excellent source of some of those nutrients?), "no artificial sweetener" (why do we need to use artificial sweeteners when there's so many other forms of sugar?). I think it's ridiculous the way you can now find fibre in just about any food product, but at least it makes sense to find it in a product like cereal. All grains offer different nutritional benefits, as well, so I do like the variety of grains in this product.

I might seem overly critical in my judgment right off the top, but that's because Kashi is always viewed as the angelic cousin in the grocery store. It seems to me that most people believe Kashi can do no wrong, so because I've heard so much about it I have high expectations. And from all the raving that Kashi gets from everyone (particularly as being a healthier choice), I do expect quite a lot from it, health-wise. So while I do agree that it's got some things going for it, and that it is better by leaps and bounds than most other cereals (including many which have misleading health claims), I still would be reluctant to call this a health food and would certainly not eat it as often as I eat fruit/vegetables/milk/oats etc.

On to the taste!

This cereal tastes fantastic. And it is also very filling. A small amount, mixed in with some plain yogurt and frozen berries, makes an incredibly filling and decently well-rounded breakfast. I also experimented with having a full serving size with milk, which also tastes good but would only be necessary if you're really hungry. Otherwise, a full bowlful is too much! I guess it's all that good fibre in there. This really is a granola, but in cereal form, and I like that. It's also incredibly crunchy and has very tasty clusters of oats (held together by all that honey, I suppose).

This cereal is expensive, but it tastes great and it contains all-natural ingredients*, so if I was having people over for breakfast I would get this again as a health ier option. I can also see getting this in the future for myself as a treat, because I really did enjoy it but I don't think I can justify it as a healthy option to have every day.

Have you tried this cereal? What is your opinion of it? And what do you think of the entire Kashi line- are their products healthy or healthier?

*will still have to check up on that annatto colour, though! I must point out that the box says "all-natural" as opposed to "all natural", which also gives me reason to be suspicious of this particularl ingredient. "All-natural" implies it includes (but may not be limited to) natural ingredients, whereas "all natural" certainly would suggest encompassing all ingreidnets- that all of the ingredients are natural. Marketing can be a very sneaky thing!

Comments (2)
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 I agree with you assessment.  When looking at "cerials", I keep in mind how much sugar in ccontained within.  10 grams is too high for me.  4 is the max acceptable for me, so I limit myself to Cherios, or other products that have far less sugar content. 

I believe Kashi has a great marketing plan, cut falls short of being a true "health food".


Thanks for commenting, Ken! I agree with your max 4g rule (especially when taking into consideration that even that is a full teaspoon of sugar), depending on how big MY serving size is. Funny how often our serving sizes are much different then what they say on the box, isn't it?!
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