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Kellogg's All-Bran is a cereal that comes in small boxes. Not the Kellogg's Variety Pack small, but definitely small compared to the gargantuan Corn Pops. The box I have sitting in front of me is 11.4 oz (393 g), but is less than 7 inches wide and barely 10 inches tall. Like most cereals of this variety, it is considered more of an "adult" cereal than something like Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, or even Shredded Wheat.

Truly, this is the quintessential "twigs and rocks" cereal. It could be compared to Grape Nuts, except Grape Nuts has kind of a hippie, camper, organic image. All-Bran is what 50 year-old CIO's eat because they're afraid of their high LDL cholesterol and think that Cheerios are too cheap.

To illustrate the utter blandness and tastelessness of this food product, I present to you the ingredients, by decreasing order of weight:

Wheat bran, oat fiber, wheat flour, calcium phosphate,
salt, baking soda, high fructose corn syrup, caramel
color, calcium carbonate, aspartame, sodium ascorbate
and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide, , reduced
iron, annatto color, pyridoxine hydrochloride, (vitamin
B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2, folic acid, zinc oxide, vita-
min A palmitate, thiamin, hydrochloride (vitamin B1),
BHT (preservative), vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

First, the primary ingredient is wheat bran. Bran is not that heavy. There is more of it by weight than wheat flour, the main ingredient in most cereals. This is our first warning sign.

Second, the main sweetener in the cereal is the high fructose corn syrup, a very dense, and thus heavy, ingredient. There is more salt and baking soda, individually by mass, than corn syrup. Update:generic-man was kind enough to point out that aspartame is also a sweetener. However, this doesn't change much; aspartame (trademarked as NutraSweet) is a crappy sweetener, and there is even less of that by mass than caramel color.

Call me crazy, but this does not make it sound that appealing. And I haven't even described the smell and taste of this food product.

I grew up on a farm, and for a five-year period we raised rabbits to be sold for meat. Twice a day, I would go out and feed these rabbits pellets that were essentially compressed alfalfa, clover, and other tough but nutritious foods. Up until this morning, I hadn't thought about those early mornings or those large, lean rabbits in years. Then, I opened this box.

Sweet Lord, this stuff smells like alfalfa hay. It brings to mind a worker at a grain mill saying to himself, "You know, if there were only some way we could process this chaff, and convince rich city folk it was good for them, charging five bucks a box."

Tastewise: imagine somebody in the process of recycling newspapers, grinding them up and dumping these grounds into huge vats filled with water. Gigantic stirrers mix the mush, like a 50,000 horsepower KitchenAid Mixer. When they finish, there is an enormous opaque slurry of gray. That is how this tastes. Like all the flavor that goes into mangoes, Fun-Dip, chocolate, and watermelon had to be stolen from other foods, and this All-bran was their victim.

To make it palatable, I covered the top of the mound in honey, drenched it in milk, and ate as quickly as possible. I felt like one of the caged rabbits, devouring as quickly as possibly, lest I be crowded from the feeder.

Nutritionally, it is not extraordinary, except for its low calories, and high Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12 (100% of your US RDA of each). And, of course, high fiber.

Kellogg's All-Bran is part of this complete breakfast.

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