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Does it bother you that an advertisement for Wonder Bread claims that calcium in their bread helps children's minds work better and helps their memory?

In a television commercial, a character called Professor Wonder says: "Moms know that calcium helps build strong bones. But did you know it helps build strong minds, too? Neurons in your brain need calcium to transmit signals. Without it they can be, well, a little slow. Let's see what happens when you give them soft, delicious Wonder Bread." At that point, "Missy" eats some Wonder Bread. Next, the commercial shows, the neurons in her brain say "Let's go guys, time to do homework."

The makers of Wonder Bread aired this ad which implies that Wonder Bread helps children's minds work better and helps their memory. On March 6, The US Federal Trade Administration issued a news release announcing that "The marketers of Wonder Bread have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that ads claiming that Wonder Bread containing added calcium could improve children's brain function and memory were unsubstantiated and violated federal law." The Commission alleges that Interstate Bakeries Corporation and its ad agency, Campbell Mithun LLC does not have adequate substantiation to make such health benefit claims for Wonder Bread.

This is not the first time that Wonder Bread has bene found guilty of making claims that they cannot substantiate. In 1976, the makers of Wonder Bread {"Continental Baking Co. v. FTC, 532 F.2d 207 (2d Cir. 1976)} falsely represented that "Wonder Bread" is "an extraordinary food for producing dramatic growth in children. This case should teach you that ALL foods that provide calories produce growth, and no food gives special health benefits. All foods contain nutrients that you need to be heathy. No food contains a specific nutrient that is exclusively found in that food and that you cannot get from any other food. White bread is a stripped down source of calories with lots of nutrients removed from the wheat and only a few added back in.

Checked 5/3/07

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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