These cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. They take the grains from the farmer, pay them a pittance for them, make the grains into a slurry and put them in a tank, a machine called an extruder. The grains are forced out of a little hole at high temperature and pressure and shaped into little o's and flakes and shredded wheat and so forth, or puffed up. A blade slices off each little flake which is carried past a nozzle and sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal off the cereal from the ravages of milk and to give it crunch.
Paul Stitt has written about the extrusion process used for these cereals which treats every grain with very high heat and high pressure and destroys much of the nutrients in the grains. It destroys the fatty acids; it even destroys the chemical vitamins that are added. The amino acids are rendered very toxic by this process. The amino acid lysine, a crucial nutrient, is especially ravaged by extrusion. This is how all the boxed cereals are made, even the ones in the health food stores. They are all made in the same way and mostly in the same factories. All dry cereals that come in boxes are extruded cereals.
The only advances made in the extrusion process are those which will cut cost regardless of how these will alter the nutrient content of the product. Cereals are a multi-billion dollar business which has created huge fortunes. You would think there would be some studies on the effect on man or animals. There are no published studies and there are only two unpublished studies which were done on rats.
THE RAT EXPERIMENTS
Paul Stitt wrote about an experiment conducted by a cereal company in which four sets of rats were given special diets. One group received plain whole wheat, water and synthetic vitamins and minerals. A second group received puffed wheat (an extruded cereal), water and the same nutrient solution. A third set was given water and white sugar. A fourth set was given nothing but water and chemical nutrients. The rats which received the whole wheat lived over a year on this diet. The rats that got nothing but water and vitamins lived about two months. The animals on a white sugar and water diet lived about a month. The company's own laboratory study showed that the rats given the vitamins, water and all the puffed wheat they wanted, died within two weeks---they died before the rats that got no food at all. It wasn't a matter of the rats dying of malnutrition. Results like these suggested that there was something actually very toxic in the puffed wheat itself! Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the pressure of the puffing process may produce chemical changes, which turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance.
Another unpublished experiment was carried out in 1960. Researchers at Ann Arbor University were given 18 laboratory rats. They were divided into three groups: one group received corn flakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the Cornflakes came in and water; the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. The rats receiving the Cornflakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box! But before death, the Cornflakes rats developed schizophrenic behaviour, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and degeneration of the nerves of the spine, all signs of insulin shock. The startling conclusion of this study is that there was more nourishment in the box than there was in the Cornflakes. This experiment was actually designed as a joke, but the results were far from funny. The results were never published and similar studies have not been conducted.
Most of America eats this kind of cereal. In fact, the USDA is gloating over the fact that children today get the vast majority of their important nutrients from the nutrients added to these boxed cereals. Many of them are at least 50% sugar; but there are many so-called health food cereals sold in the health food stores, and they are made by the same method. They use whole grains and they may use better quality sweeteners, but they are made by the same method. It may come as a shock to you, but these whole grain extruded cereals are probably more dangerous, because they are higher in protein and it is the proteins in these cereals that are so denatured by this type of processing.
THE EXTRUSION PROCESS
When we put these cereals through an extruder, it alters the structure of the proteins. "Seins", which comprise the majority of proteins in corn, are located in spherical organelles called protein bodies. One study investigated change in protein body, shape and release of encapsulated alphaseins as a result of the extrusion processing. During extrusion, they found that the protein bodies were completely disrupted and the alphaseins dispersed. The results suggest that seins in Cornflakes, particularly extruded ones, are not confined to rigid protein bodies but can interact with each other and other components of the system forming new compounds which are completely foreign to the human body. 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.
Alica Ryan, NTP