Corn Flakes Are Neither 'Anaaj' Nor Healthy

We see TV commercials for corn flakes that refers to the product as "anaaj". But do corn flakes really deserve to be called 'anaaj'? 'Anaaj' means any type of grain, like wheat, rice, oats, or for that matter even corn itself. Grain kernels are made up of three parts - bran, endosperm, and germ. Bran is the tough outer layer that is rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, and B vitamins. The endosperm or the middle portion (which is the largest) is mostly full of starch or in other words, carbohydrates, some protein, and small quantities of B vitamins and minerals. The germ, the small inner portion contains crucial nutrients like healthy fats, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and anti oxidants. Now suppose we take a kernel of any grain, remove its bran and germ entirely, crush the starchy endosperm, soak, boil, and roll it, then dry & roast it, will it still qualify to be called a 'grain'? My guess is that the answer will be a big 'No'. That is the story of corn flakes in short. Keep reading...

Corn Flakes

Manufacturing Process of Corn Flakes

At the cost of repetition, I would like to present the manufacturing process of corn flakes here:

1. Corn kernels go through a milling process that separates the endosperm or the starch from the bran and the germ. The starchy part of the kernel is kept and the bran and the germ are discarded or sold off.

2. Corn starch or its endosperm is mixed with some malted barley and sugar (for flavoring) and some other additives and the mixture is subjected to pressure cooking at a high temperature for an hour.

3. The flavored corn starch is then dried and rolled into flakes.

4. Flakes are then toasted at very high temperature. When dry, some nutrients (perhaps natural or artificial) are sprayed on the corn flakes. These nutrients are mostly those that are printed on the boxes of corn flakes.

Scrap Metal Iron in Corn Flakes?

Corn flakes are claimed by the manufacturers as being a "rich source of iron". This iron is not naturally present in corn flakes but is added during the manufacturing process. There are umpteen number of stories on the internet that say that Kellogg adds scrap metal iron to their corn flakes. The reply given by Kellogg on their support forum is very vague:

An official representative of Kellogg says:

"...our Kellogg Corn Flakes does not use either Ferrous Phosphate or Sulphate; instead it's a type of iron that is encapsulated, which is pure iron, allowing it to be easier to work with during manufacturing. There are 8mg of iron added, this amount can be found on the label and is accurate until the 'best if used before' date..."

Corn Flakes Are Not Anaaj or Grain

It is sufficiently clear from all the above information that anyone who calls corn flakes 'Anaaj' or grain is just making a false claim.

Are Corn Flakes Healthy?

Now let us move to the second question. Are corn flakes good for human health. The short answer again is 'No'.

The Ingredients

Let us look at the ingredients in Kellogg's Corn Flakes:

Corn flakes contain milled corn, sugar, malt flavor, and 2% or less of salt, apart from the added vitamins & minerals. As a result of all this, one suggested serving or 1 cup (28g) of corn flakes contains 1g of fiber, 2g of protein, and 3g of sugar. The 3 grams of sugar is in the corn flakes itself. Usually the consumer will add some more sugar to the milk to flavor the cereal and hence the actual amount of sugar consumed in a corn flakes meal is higher than 3 grams. Moreover, the sugar added to corn flakes during manufacturing is said to be in the form of 'high fructose corn syrup' which is also called a 'chemically related sweet flavored substance'.

Simply put, corn flakes are made up of corn starch, malt flavour, and high fructose corn syrup all of which score high on Glycemic Index. Glycemic Index is rated as 'Low" if GI is between 0 and 55, 'Medium' if GI is between 56 and 69 and 'High' if GI is above 70. Corn flakes have a GI of 82 which is very high. High Glycemic Index foods promote diabetes, heart problems, fat storage and obesity. All this when a person consumes the suggested 28g corn flakes at a time. In reality if a person relies only on corn flakes for breakfast, they are most likely to consume more than 28g at a time.

Now we know that corn flakes are neither 'Anaaj' nor healthy. Let us ignore the misleading advertisements of corn flakes and let us resort to packaged cereals only as emergency foods, that is when nothing healthy is available. Also Read: Is That "No Maida Added" Atta Really Whole Wheat?