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    Trix = Twizzlers + Flintstone Multivitamin + Corn Dust. Really.

    I often joke that many “kids’ cereals” (an euphemism for neon-colored sugar puffs) are the nutritional equivalent of candy and a multivitamin.

    Upon sharing that observation on Twitter and Facebook earlier today, one of my followers expressed a curiosity to see a side-by-side nutritional comparison of these two foods.  What a wonderful idea!   I gladly accepted the request and, well, turns out my snarkiness is very based in reality.

    Let’s begin with Trix, which somehow managed to dethrone carrots and lettuce as the official food of the rabbit community.

    A 1-cup, 30 gram (just slightly over 1 ounce) serving provides:

    • 120 calories
    • 1.5 grams fat
    • 180 milligrams sodium
    • 10 grams sugar (2.5 teaspoons)
    • 1 gram fiber
    • 1 gram protein

    Here is what an ounce of Twizzlers provides:

    • 95 calories
    • 0.6 grams fat
    • 74 milligrams sodium
    • 0 grams fiber
    • 13.25 grams sugar (3.25 teaspoons)
    • 0.6 grams protein

    Pretty close to Trix.  Just a tiny bit more sugar and a smidge less of protein.  The missing gram of fiber is barely noticed and, hey, look at that — half the sodium and a third of the calories!

    Let’s now look at the fortified nutrients in Trix.  The following vitamins and minerals are supplemented (listed with their respective contributions, expressed as a percentage, to the Daily Value):

    Vitamin A (10%), Vitamin C (10%), Calcium (10%), Iron (25%), Vitamin D (10%), Thiamin (25%), Riboflavin (25%), Niacin (25%), Vitamin B6 (25%), Folic Acid (25%), Vitamin B12 (25%), Zinc (25%)

    Let’s now analyze Fred Flintstone’s contribution to the candy breakfast.  That chewable vitamin provides the following vitamins and minerals (again, listed with their respective percentage of the Daily Value)

    Vitamin A (60%), Vitamin C (100%), Vitamin D (100%), Vitamin E (100%), Thiamin (100%), Riboflavin (100%), Niacin (75%), Vitamin B6 (100%), Folic Acid (100%), Vitamin B12 (100%), Biotin (13%), Pantothenic Acid (100%), Calcium (10%), Iron (100%), Phosphorus (10%), Iodine (100%), Magnesium (5%), Zinc (80%), Copper (100%)

    Oh, snap!  Fred Flintstone’s  vitamins deliver higher amounts of nutrients — and a wider variety — than what Trix offers.

    And, now, for our final comparison — ingredient lists.  First up, Trix:

    Whole grain corn, sugar, corn meal, corn syrup, canola/rice bran oil, salt, trisodium phosphate, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Other Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid

    Twizzlers have almost an identical ingredient list:

    Corn syrup; enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid); sugar; cornstarch; contains 2% or less of: palm oil; salt; artificial flavor ; mono and diglycerides; citric acid; potassium sorbate (preservative); artificial color ( red 40) ; mineral oil; soy lecithin; glycerin

    Fred Flintstone’s multivitamin is, of course, composed of vitamins and minerals.  However, just like Trix, it contains three artificial dyes — Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 2.

    The takeaway message here is not that Twizzlers and a multivitamin comprise a nutritious breakfast, but rather that Trix is merely fortified candy with a sprinkling of corn dust.

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    8 Comments

    1. Tanya said on February 16th, 2011

      Thank you for doing this! This is a great teaching tool :)

    2. Nic at The Fit Writer said on February 16th, 2011

      Good lord :( We don’t get these products here in the UK but I bet a similar analysis could be done on plenty of things we do have! Nic

    3. Pilsy said on February 16th, 2011

      Great article Andy! I love expose stuff like that. The least we could do is make sure we make educated choices.
      There is this dog food commercial that starts out with the line “You wouldn’t feed your family dried food from a paper bag. Why feed it to your dog?” Every time I see it I think of boxed cereals, chips and the endless other products that are overly processed bag-food.
      http://www.freshpetselect.com/commercial.htm

    4. Amy said on February 22nd, 2011

      Thanks for doing this Andy! It never fails to amaze me what is marketed to kids (and their parents). Wow…

    5. Michelle Pfennighaus (@FindUrBalance) said on February 6th, 2014

      Genetically modified corn dust, at that.

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