Here in America, I eat a lot of breakfast cereal. I have a cupboard full of cereal boxes and I arrange them based on nutrition: the healthiest on the left (GoLean) and the deadliest on the right (Cocoa Puffs). A few days ago, I stood in my kitchen—waiting for the election to be over—and perused the “Nutrition Facts” on the side of each box. I went from box to box, calculating calories per gram, and it slowly dawned on me that they all contained about 400 calories per 100 grams. I heard myself say: “I have made a huge mistake.”
There are two reasons for this disaster. First, the American political system is controlled by Big Cereal. Citizens enjoy only a very basic level of consumer protection. Each food product has a vague chart showing nutritional data, but each product has its own serving size and its own units. You need to perform complex mathematical computations to compare two products.
Second, I based my assessment on graphic language. I looked at the boxes and—using my Swedish sensibilities—was hoodwinked into believing that some of them were healthier than others. GoLean (unhealthy). Exhibit A:
Note the following elements of dishonesty in the graphic language:
- Prevalence of white space
- Font of word “Lean” is extremely low weight
For reference. Swedish Müsli (healthy). Exhibit B.
Note the honest use of:
- Light colors
- Low weight font
During my information gathering process I have traced this all the way to the top. Perhaps you have heard someone say the following: “Granola is a word in American English that means muesli.”
Wrong. This is a lie perpetrated by Big Cereal. What they call granola is a product we have in Sweden. Exhibit C.
Note the following:
- Strong colors
- Name (“Start”)
- Exclamation mark
The exclamation mark* clearly indicates that this is a calorie-intense breakfast option for very active people. Overall, the graphic language suggests the following: You are about to be jacked on sugar.
Start!—the most shunned and stigmatized cereal of my childhood—is the healthiest breakfast option in America. Their empire will collapse any day now.
*In America, exclamation marks are always hiding something. See also: Low-Energy Jeb. Exhibit D.