October 2, 2008

Cereals Brands Can Be More Than Half Sugar

Consumer Reports said on Wednesday that some breakfast cereals marketed to U.S. children are more than half sugar by weight and many get only fair scores on nutritional value.

The consumer group found that a serving of 11 popular cereals, including Kellogg's Honey Smacks, carries as much sugar as a glazed doughnut.

They also noted that some brands have more sugar and sodium when formulated for the U.S. market than the same brands have when sold in other countries.

The group said Post Golden Crisp made by Kraft Foods Inc and Kellogg's Honey Smacks are more than 50 percent sugar by weight, while nine brands are at least 40 percent sugar.

The most healthful brands are Cheerios with three grams of fiber per serving and one gram of sugar, Kix and Honey Nut Cheerios, all made by General Mills, and Life, made by Pepsico Inc's Quaker Oats unit.

Gayle Williams, deputy editor of Consumer Reports Health, said be sure to read the product labels, and choose cereals that are high in fiber and low in sugar and sodium.

Honey Smacks has 15 grams of sugar and just one gram of fiber per serving while Kellogg's Corn Pops has 12 grams of sugar and no fiber.

According to a Consumer Reports study, 91 children aged 6 to 16 poured their cereal and found they served themselves about 50 to 65 percent more on average than the suggested serving size for three of the four tested cereals.

Consumers International said it would ask the World Health Organization to develop international guidelines restricting advertising and marketing of foods high in sugar, fat or sodium to children.

However, breakfast cereal can be a healthful meal and said adults and children alike who eat breakfast have better overall nutrition, fewer weight problems, and better cognitive performance throughout the day, the group noted.

Kellogg said it was working to make its food more nutritious.

A company spokeswoman said Kellogg recently reformulated a number of our cereals including Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies and Apple Jacks in the U.S. with improved nutritional profiles.

"To put Consumer Reports' information in perspective, yogurt contains more sugar and sodium than a serving of Honey Smacks cereal (25 grams of sugar vs. 15 grams of sugar in Honey Smacks)."

Consumer Reports compares the sugar content of food with its fiber, mineral and vitamin content. Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.


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