BOSTON (CBS) — People often choose their breakfast cereal based on health claims made on the packaging, but a series of new studies finds those claims often don’t match the nutritional content of the product.

“High in Calcium,” “High in Vitamins,” “Gluten-Free,” and “All Natural” are often featured in bold print on the front of cereal boxes, but are they true?

Researchers from Europe and Vanderbilt University looked at hundreds of cereals and found that consumers seemed to be drawn more to claims based on the presence of something good, rather than the absence of something bad, for example, “High in Fiber” rather than “Low in Sugar”. They also found that there was almost no correlation between the positive claims and the actual nutritional content of the cereals.

They say instead of relying on what is advertised on the front of a cereal box, or any packaged food for that matter, it’s better to look directly at the nutrition label to help you decide if a food is healthier for you.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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