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Is Oatmeal Poison?

The Little Rascals in Our Gang Comedies taught me to hate even the thought of mush:

Mush is a thick cornmeal pudding (or porridge) usually boiled in water or milk . . .Usage is especially common in the eastern and southeastern United States. It is also customary for those in the Midwestern US to eat it with maple syrup.

In my mind, mush included all those mushy grain cereals, like Wheatina and 0atmeal too. In later years, however, I became an oatmeal fanatic. Everywhere I go, I order oatmeal – breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner – because it is supposed to be good for you (and with honey and fruit its tasty too).

Now Mark Bittman has thrown the oatmeal on the wall and whatever doesn’t stick . . . well, you get the point. In his recent OpEd critique of MacDonald’s new oatmeal concoction, he sheds light on the pros and mostly cons of this gluttonous food. Here’s an excerpt:

“There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “bowl full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today.”

Oatmeal has become big business. When I started eating it, I had no idea it had become the new black. But, lemming that I am, I started buying the instant variety to make certain I consumed my daily quota. Here’s another excerpt:

“Like so many other venerable foods, oatmeal has been roundly abused by food marketers for more than 40 years. Take, for example, Quaker Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal, which contains no strawberries, no cream, 12 times the sugars of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and only half of the fiber. At least it’s inexpensive, less than 50 cents a packet on average. (A serving of cooked rolled oats will set you back half that at most, plus the cost of condiments; of course, it’ll be much better in every respect.)”

This is an important article, not just for those of us being duped by the oatmeal consortia, but for anyone who is concerned with the industrial food manufacture in the United States. After reading it, all I could do was repeat an oft-quoted phrase of the Little Rascals: Ah, raspberries!!!!!


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