The following is from Sally Fallon's wonderful Nourishing Traditions cookbook. The liner notes in this book are incredible. She's stuffed more important research findings into this cookbook than you'd find in a year in most other sources. This is about your breakfast cereals. Be prepared to ditch them forever....
Excerpt from the chapter on grains:
Four sets of rats were given special diets. One group received plain whole wheat, water, vitamins and minerals. Anotehr group received Puffed Wheat, water and the same nutrient solution. A third set was given water and white sugar, and a fourth given nothing but water and the chemical nutrients. The rats which received the whole wheat lived for over a year on the diet. The rats who got nothing but water and vitamins lived for about 8 weeks, and the animals on a white sugar and water diet lived for a month. But [the company's] own laboratory study showed that rats given vitamins, water and all the Puffed Wheat they wanted died in two weeks. It wasn't a matter of the rats dying of malnutrition; results like these suggested that there was something actually toxic about the Puffed Wheat itself. Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the puffing process of putting the grain under 1500 pounds per square inch of pressure and then releasing it may produce chemical changes which turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance . . . I was shocked, so I showed the report to Dr. Clark, who shared my concern. His predecessor, Dr. Graham, had published the report and begged the company not to continue producing Puffed Wheat because of its poisonous effect on animals. Dr. Clark . . . went right to the president . . . "I know people should throw it on brides and grooms at weddings," [the president] cracked, "but if they insist on sticking it in their mouths, can I help it? Besides, we made $9 million on the stuff last year."
Paul Stitt, Fighting the Food Giants
Also from the chapter on grains:
In 1960, researchers at Ann Arbor University performed an interesting experiment on laboratory rats. Eighteen rats were divided into three groups. One group received cornflakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box the cornflakes came in and water; and the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats receiving the cardboard became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving the cornflakes and water died before the rats who were given the cardboard box--the last cornflake rat died on the day the first box rat died. Before death, the cornflake rats developed schizophrenic behavior, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and degeneration of the nerves in the spine--all signs of "insulin shock." The startling conclusion of this study is that there is more nourishment in the box that cold breakfast cereals come in than in the cereals themselves. Loren Zanier, designer of the experiment, actually proposed the protocol as a joke. But the results are far from funny. They were never published and similar studies have not been repeated. If consumers knew the truth about breakfast cereals, vast fortunes would be jeopardized. (Sally Fallon)
Don't know about you, but this tells me all I need to know about Big Food and cold cereals. The poisonous aspects seem to be due to the processing methods of the grains--changing them from nutritious foods into...well...what can we call the stuff? I haven't eaten cold cereals (except homemade museli) in ages, but I know I ate a lot of it before. Live and learn. And don't trust Big Food!