Until recently, Cocoa Puffs enjoyed the endorsement of the American Heart Association (AHA) as a heart-healthy food.
For a price, the AHA will allow food manufacturers to affix a heart "check mark" signifying endorsement by the AHA as conforming to some basic "heart healthy" requirements.
Odd thing: The list of breakfast cereals on the check mark program has shrunk dramatically. When I last posted about this, there were around 50-some breakfast cereals, from Cocoa Puffs to Frosted Mini Wheats. Now, the list has been trimmed down to 17
Berry Burst Cheerios-Triple Berry
Honey Nut Cheerios
Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal
Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Flakes & Wild Blueberry Clusters
Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal
Multi Grain Cheerios
Oatmeal Crisp Crunchy Almond
Oatmeal Crisp Hearty Raisin
Quaker Cinnamon Life
Quaker Heart Health
Quaker Life Maple & Brown Sugar
Quaker Oat Bran
Quaker Oatmeal Squares - Brown Sugar
Quaker Oatmeal Squares - Cinnamon
According to sales material targeted to food manufacturers, the American Heart Association boasts that "The American Heart Association’s heart-check mark is the most recognized and trusted food icon today . . . Eighty-three percent of consumers are aware of the heart-check mark. Sixty-six percent of primary grocery shoppers say the heart-check mark has a strong/moderate influence on their choices when shopping."
So, is Cocoa Puffs no longer heart healthy?
I suspect that agencies like the AHA, the USDA, the American Diabetes Association as starting to understand that they have blundered big time by pushing low-fat, having contributed to the nationwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and that it is time to quietly start backpedaling.
While it's a step in the right direction, judging from the above list of breakfast cereal "survivors" of the check mark program, the criteria may have been tightened . . . but not that much.