Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Silly Parent, Trix are for [Fat] Kids

I should know. I was one.

A fat kid, that is. Not a parent. Thank god.

The reason I bring this up is because another armchair advocate has emerged in the battle of "big cereal." Her name is Jennifer Hardee. She’s suing Kraft Foods, General Mills and Kellogg for misleading advertising.

Evidently, she was duped by their recent offerings of low sugar, sugary breakfast cereals. It turns out that the lack of sugar doesn’t actually make the cereals any healthier. (As I write that last part I’m reminded that I used to hate the claim that food was “healthy.” No food is “healthy.” It’s dead. I think becoming a slab of sirloin steak is about the least healthy thing that could happen to you. But I’m not here to discuss the English language’s evolving syntax…)

So Mrs. Hardee, mother of two from San Diego, CA, is embroiled in the battle of her little life. She never bought the sugary cereals before because…well…because you might as well feed your child cocaine. But when she saw that they contained less sugar, she took the bait. And she was feeling pretty good about the world.

But later, she saw a news story about how the low sugar cereals, while technically low in sugar, are supplemented with other carbohydrates that neutralize any benefits from the lack of sugar.

That’s when she got pissed. And she did what any other red-blooded American would; she sued the hell out of everybody.

But here’s my dilemma. Hardee claims that the Cap’n is engaged in false advertising. But the fact remains that there is actually less sugar in these cereals. The boxes say nothing about being “healthy.” (They can’t, they’re boxes. They don’t talk and they don’t have health.)

So where’s the lawsuit? The nutritional information is printed very clearly on the side of the box. It’s all been standardized for easier deciphering. If you’re claiming to be a health-conscious mother wouldn’t you take the time to read the nutritional info? Look, I’m no genius, that’s obvious, but even I don’t believe everything they print on the front of a cereal box.

Even if it’s true.

And I don’t make assumptions about health benefits. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is still Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They may cut down the sugar and make it out of whole grain wheat, but the fact still remains that they’re going to try and make the damn stuff taste like…cinnamon toast! I think they’re obligated to. It’s Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

And I’ll bet it sells a hell of a lot better than Hummus Bunches of Oat Germ.

Why would you expect a sweet cereal to be good for you? The only sweet cereal that’s both tasty and even remotely healthy is Cracklin’ Oat Bran. And that’s because it’s full of fiber. Fiber…and sugar! And there’s no false advertising there. The name says it all. It’s as addictive as crack…and just as expensive.

But Mrs. Hardee feels she’s doing the right thing. Even if she’s a bit misguided.

I wonder if she’d buy Trix if they advertised that it contained more “green?”

If you don’t want your kids to be fat, don’t buy cereal with “peanut butter” in it. I would think that would be obvious.

But apparently it isn’t. Although, let’s not start stoking the hellfire and brimstone just yet. A recent study by the Foundation for Child Development, the “Child-Well Being Index,” shows that kids are better off today than their parents were.

They binge drink less, they have fewer babies, they commit fewer violent crimes and they smoke less – but they’re fat as hell.

Perhaps if they took up smoking…?

The obesity rate among children has tripled. I’m pretty sure that I have a solution, if a solution is direly needed. See, I know why kids are smoking less – because it’s goddamned expensive, that’s why! I’m a smoker. I’m an idiot. Sure. I’m also slowly going broke. Why? Because people think that I shouldn’t be allowed to smoke. Why? Because I’m clogging up their lungs and taking all the health insurance money.

Oh, well that makes sense. I should quit.

But one problem at a time. Make food more expensive! No, don’t do that. Don’t do anything. Count your blessing, I say. So kids are fat. Who can blame them? Evidently all their parents are pregnant, two-pack-a-day, violent alcoholics.

I say, let the kids be fat. It’s not the end of the world. It will take care of itself eventually. Drugs and alcohol put all of us at risk. But obesity is a personal problem (not counting your precious insurance money).

Here’s a news broadcast you’ll never see:

Tragedy in the Heartland!

Anchor: Two teens, clearly still hungry from breakfast, broke into a high school vending machine and ate one too many Tiger Tails. Witness say that as soon as they had stuffed down the last of the high-calorie snack cakes, there was a substantial rumbling…and then the worst happened…Here is an eye witness account from City High valedictorian Marcela Mensala…

Zitty Teen Girl: I seen’d them guys. They was eatin’ Tiger Tails an’ then they just blew up! It was naaasty!

Anchor That’s right, the two teens exploded from overeating. 12 classmates were tragically killed and over 100 others were injured, left covered in a goopy mess of Tiger Tails and partially digested Cinnamon Toast Crunch…

Fat kids are too slow to cause trouble. Let’s just revel in that fact for a few more months.

Fun Fact: I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I love Golden Grahams. I’m also fond of Frosted Flakes, Peanut Butter Crunch, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Puffs.

I eat All-Bran.

I hate getting old.


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