Cheerios Protein, a version of the classic Cheerios cereal with added protein, is the subject of a new lawsuit that alleges that the maker of the cereal, General Mills, has committed methods of false advertising and misleading labelling. The lawsuit was filed by the consumer advocacy group called the Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to the lawsuit, the cereal only has slightly more protein than the traditional version, and it also contains much higher amounts of sugar.
The nutrition labels for the cereals state that Cheerios Protein has seven grams of protein in each recommended serving size. Meanwhile, classic Cheerios has three grams in its recommended serving size. Making the situation worse is that Cheerios Protein has a recommended serving size of 55 grams, while the recommended serving size for regular Cheerios is just 28 grams.
So you get slightly more than twice the amount of protein by consuming nearly twice the amount of cereal. In terms of nutritional value, the cereals are essentially equal when it comes to protein. But there is one difference between the two cereals, Cheerios Protein has 17 grams of sugar while classic Cheerios has just one gram. Really, the cereal should be called “Cheerios Sugar” instead of Cheerios Protein.
Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest Maia Kats said, “Consumers who buy Cheerios Protein probably think they’re doing themselves a favor, and that this more expensive product is essentially a protein-fortified version of original Cheerios. In fact, the main thing that distinguishes Cheerios Protein from original Cheerios is the huge amount of sugar and extra calories.”
General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas defended Cheerios Protein by saying that it contains 18% more protein by weight than regular Cheerios. He also stated that the amount of protein that is included in Cheerios Protein meets the requirement of the Food and Drug Administration that the product is a “good source” of protein. The cereal contains 10% of the recommended daily value for protein.
Still, with that extra sugar, it’s clear that the cereal is not a healthy eating choice. Consumers are better off getting their protein from more traditional sources.