extruded cereals & toxicity - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all - A little while ago there was an article posted on a thread that said extruded cereals were very bad, possibly even toxic. I've been thinking about it & want to learn more.

Are all dry cereals extruded? I know ones like Cheerios are. Are flakes? Are there any dry cereals that are good? I'd think granola is OK, right?

What about baby puffs like these?

What about crackers - are they extruded? How can you tell if a product is extruded?

I generally eat all natural or organic cold cereal for breakfast, but I guess it doesn't matter how good the ingredients are if the processing is making it bad! I also give DS puffed things, like the ones above. Ugh, I need to know what's OK to eat for breakfast!

Any input is appreciated!!

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#2 of 12 Old 04-21-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also wondering about stuff like shredded wheat.

Anybody have any info???

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#3 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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Did some googling and found this about Corn Flakes:

http://askville.amazon.com/corn-flak...questId=108162

Corn Flakes are made from sweetcorn (shown left in pic)
which is ripened by more than 140 days of sunshine in Argentina, South America before being shipped to the factory for milling. The milling process removes the corn kernels from the cobs and turns them into flaking sized ’grits’. Malted barley (shown right in pic) is added to enhance the flavour of the Corn Flakes.

The corn grits are cooked in steam pressure cookers, with Kellogg’s unique malt flavour, at temperatures exceeding 100C. This cooking process lasts for an hour and softens the hard grits. The hot grits are transported from the cookers to large driers via the complicated network of pipes that runs through the factory. The grits spend several hours in the hot-air driers in order to reduce their moisture content.

The corn grits are milled using two large rollers, which squeeze the grits flat. One of the rollers rotates slightly faster than the other and exerts 40 tonnes of pressure on the grits.
This elongates the flakes. The flakes are then tumble toasted for 30 seconds in huge cylindrical ovens. The air in the ovens is heated by 600C gas flames and the flakes are tossed around in a rotating drum. The drum is angled so that the flakes whirl around and pass through it quite quickly, and stops them spending too long in the fierce heat.

The flakes are then sprayed with vitamins and minerals to make them as nutritious as possible. We now have Corn Flakes. The production line divides at this stage. The Corn Flakes might be packed, or they could be diverted and used to make Frosties or Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes. Frosties are created by spraying the flakes with a special syrup in a rotating drum. The Corn flakes are then bagged up with the help of a bagging machine, which uses huge rolls of polythene to create the cereal box liners. This machine can create, fill, seal and cut off 30 bags a minute.


Even if they're not extruded.... does this sound healthy?

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#4 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Here's some more reading for you.

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/question393.htm

I think those puffs you linked to are probably extruded (that's how they get that neat shape), then baked (and then sprayed with vitamins and things of course).

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#5 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I've read (maybe from Sally Fallon?) that Grape Nuts cereal isn't extruded.

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#6 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Why/how would extrusion change the nutritional properties of food?

I made home made pasta a few days ago... this is technically an extrusion process ... all pasta products (except a few rolled ones) are made by extrusion as far as I can tell.
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#7 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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http://www.westonaprice.org/Dirty-Se...-Industry.html
Scroll down to "Packaged Cereals" & the "Rat Experiments"

Quote:
Dry breakfast cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. Cereal makers first create a slurry of the grains and then put them in a machine called an extruder. The grains are forced out of a little hole at high temperature and pressure. Depending on the shape of the hole, the grains are made into little o's, flakes, animal shapes, or shreds (as in Shredded Wheat or Triscuits), or they are puffed (as in puffed rice).

During extrusion, these protein bodies are completely disrupted and deformed. The extrusion process breaks down the organelles, disperses the proteins and the proteins become toxic. When they are disrupted in this way, you have absolute chaos in your food, and it can result in a disruption of the nervous system.

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#8 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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Wikipedia has a nice explanation of extrusion here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrusion

(as a materials scientist, it looks pretty accurate to me.)

I am concerned about the conclusions being leaped to in the link above. Yes, when you squash something it will warm up slightly ... that item being squashed could be a piece of steel, a piece of plastic, or an oat. It is a well understood concept. You can observe a similar phenomenon at home, by stretching a rubber band an placing it against your lips ... you can feel it warm up.

If extrusion causes "food toxicity", then food grinding and milling are also suspect - they make food warm up. If you are going to condemn almost every packaged food in the country (including pasta, all forms of flour, most breakfast cereals, soymilk, rice milk) you need more evidence than an unpublished study. If you believe that extrusion = toxic food, then even flour processed at home on a kitchenAid flour grinder or food mill is not safe for you.
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#9 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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Call me crazy, but I have a hard time believing unpublished "scientific" research. I can post anything I want on the internet, claiming anything I want, citing "unpublished" research (but leaveing out the actual study - cause you know, its not published!), but that doesn't make it true. I don't think anyone is claiming that dry cereal is great stuff for you, but I just don't buy that its as bad as wapf makes it out to be. Course' I also don't buy that all unsprouted/unfermented wheat/dairy/etc is bad either. Or even that pasterization is like, the devil. So, whatever.
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#10 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
Call me crazy, but I have a hard time believing unpublished "scientific" research. I can post anything I want on the internet, claiming anything I want, citing "unpublished" research (but leaveing out the actual study - cause you know, its not published!), but that doesn't make it true. I don't think anyone is claiming that dry cereal is great stuff for you, but I just don't buy that its as bad as wapf makes it out to be. Course' I also don't buy that all unsprouted/unfermented wheat/dairy/etc is bad either. Or even that pasterization is like, the devil. So, whatever.

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#11 of 12 Old 04-23-2010, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the links & info! The rat study was the one I had read before - I was hoping for more info that was published/more scientific. Thanks!!

So, what I am gathering is that it is basically the heat process that can be damaging to the grain & maybe (maybe! since the study isn't published) make it bad for you. I guess I tend to agree with those of you that said that we can't avoid all heat processed foods - pasta, flour etc. My own drawn conclusion will be not to avoid all potentially extruded/processed cereals & foods, but try to add in some grains closer to their natural state, like cooked oatmeal or quinoa for breakfast.

And, I love Grape Nuts!

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and my sweet baby, born July 12  babygirl.gif

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#12 of 12 Old 04-23-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blumooned View Post
Thank you for all the links & info! The rat study was the one I had read before - I was hoping for more info that was published/more scientific. Thanks!!

So, what I am gathering is that it is basically the heat process that can be damaging to the grain & maybe (maybe! since the study isn't published) make it bad for you. I guess I tend to agree with those of you that said that we can't avoid all heat processed foods - pasta, flour etc. My own drawn conclusion will be not to avoid all potentially extruded/processed cereals & foods, but try to add in some grains closer to their natural state, like cooked oatmeal or quinoa for breakfast.

And, I love Grape Nuts!
Oatmeal or quinoa are much healthier choices. Whether or not extrusion is "bad", we're still talking processed dry cereal here (which I enjoy sometimes, but as an afternoon junkfood snack instead of the usual chips n salsa).

I am curious about shredded wheat too though... is it as healthy as it's made out to be?

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