Cereals are known to be rich in fibers and are considered healthy breakfasts for everybody including kids, adults and old people. We encourage children to eat cereals in order to stay healthy. A recent Consumer Reports (CR) showed that many cereals, which are advertised regularly on television, have 85% more sugar, 65% low fiber and 60% more sodium than adult cereals. The report also found that 11 popular children cereals have as much sugar as a glazed donut. That means many kids consume equal or more sugar than doughnut through cereals. The study was covered by USA today on October 26, 2009. Let’s see in details what this study is all about:
Consumer Reports notes that kids (and adults) who eat breakfast have better overall nutrition, fewer weight problems, and better cognitive performance throughout the day. Cereals are convenient and can be a good source of whole grains. Served with milk and fruit, the lower-sugar varieties can be part of a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast.
Consumer Reports studied the serving size poured by 91 youngsters, aged 6 to 16. It was found that on average, they served themselves about 50 to 65 percent more than the suggested serving size for tested cereals. The study concluded that-
- The least nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children. Among them: Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch.
- The major cereal companies have products that received good nutrition marks, but not many of those are advertised to children.
- The average preschooler sees 642 TV cereal ads a year; most are for types with the worst nutrition ratings. Cereal companies spend more than $156 million per year marketing to children.
- Some of the products with the poorest nutrition ratings have health claims on the boxes.
What are the ratings of cereal products available in the market?
The CR found two cereals, Post Golden Crisp and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks that are more than 50 percent sugar and nine that are at least 40 percent sugar. Also, 23 of the top 27 cereals marketed to children rated only Good or Fair for nutrition.
line-height: 150%; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Cereals with the poorest nutrition ratings that are advertised to kids are as follows:
1. Reese’s Puffs
2. Corn Pops
3. Lucky Charms
4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
4. Cap’n Crunch (tied)
6. Froot Loops (tied)
6. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles (tied)
9. Cocoa Puffs
10. Cookie Crisp
What are the top scorer’s cereals?
CR gave “Very Good” marks to 4 cereals: The review shows Cheerios, Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Life all have relatively lower sugar and higher dietary fiber – the two categories CR considers most important. Cheerios tops the list with only 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Which cereal brand is good for me?
As you saw, Cheerios from General Mills topped Consumer Report’s ratings with three grams of dietary fiber per serving and only one gram of sugar. It can be the best choice for you.
What should I do if I have developed taste and cannot switch to other cereals?
CR suggests that who can’t make the switch to a low-sugar cereal, should use smaller bowls or single-serving sizes to limit over-pouring and potentially overeating.
Consumer Reports is part of a 32-nation study, sponsored by International Consumer Research & Testing and Consumers International. Consumers International is calling on the World Health Organization to develop international guidelines that would restrict advertising and marketing of foods that provide high in sugar, fat, or sodium to children.
I am sure the data will upset millions of parents who give their children cereal for breakfast, believing it is the healthiest way to start the day. I urge you not to go over the label claim and look for Very Good rated cereal products for your kids until other companies reduce the sugar and sodium content and increase fiber content.