Cereal Boxes More Nutritious Than Cereal

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Steam Cannon."

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Although health-conscious parents have perpetuated the notion that the sugar-coated cereal Junior begs for has less nutritional value than the box it's in, the idea probably started with Paul A. Stitt. In 1982, the biochemist published Beating the Food Giants, which mentions an unpublished study claiming that rats subsisting on cereal box cardboard outlasted rats eating nothing but cornflakes.

MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage almost put the nutritional notion to a taste test, but decided to forgo cereal and cardboard diets. Instead, using a calorimeter that measures — you guessed it — calories by calculating the heat something produces when it burns, Jamie and Adam calculated that their sugary cereal contained about 20 percent more energy than the box.

Next up, they compared the protein, fat, starch and sugar content of each. For each nutrient, the cereal beat out the box. Not surprisingly, the sweet flakes shined the most in the sugar and starch categories.

Cereal isn't necessarily the breakfast of champs, but there isn't a spoonful of truth to this busted myth.

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