New York, NY, August 28, l998 Scientists at the American Council on Science and Health today criticized the Kellogg Company s full page advertisement touting the eating of Kellogg s All Bran as a means of reducing colon cancer risk. In making its claim for the cancer protection effect of its cereal, Kellogg points to the results of a recent laboratory animal study showing cancer protection linked to the consumption of a particular type of processed wheat bran.
Kellogg s claim is not grounded in science, notes ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. We in the scientific community agree that fiber rich cereals can play an important and health promoting role in our diets, but to claim that these cereals prevent colon cancer is stepping over the line. The current scientific consensus is that if, indeed, a high fiber diet is protective against colon cancer, it may be the fiber from fruits and vegetables, rather than the fiber from cereals, that offers the protection. We find Kellogg s reliance on a single, non peer reviewed rodent study to make such claims for a particular type of processed wheat bran to be irresponsible.
The ad promoting Kellogg s All Bran leaves the false impression that the cereal is the protective factor. The ad copy states that a low fat, high fiber diet with fruits, vegetables and grain products, including Kellogg s All Bran, may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. But, notes ACSH Medical Director Dr. Gilbert Ross, a statement to the effect that a low fat, high fiber diet with fruits, vegetables and almost any other food product may help reduce the risk of colon cancer would be equally true and equally misleading. It s not the grain products, but a healthful diet containing plentiful amounts of vegetables, fruits, and grains, that is protective.
Advice on how to reduce risks of disease should be based on facts, not on speculation. To suggest that a spoonful of All Bran or any other cereal is as the Kellogg ad puts it, a weapon to help fight cancer, when the evidence is, at best, conflicting, does a disservice to the American public. Americans need health facts not misleading, self serving health claims.