Health: Cereal Offenders at Breakfast

Sugary breakfast cereals are the norm, not the exception, for children in the U.S. Their bright boxes and fun mascots make them attractive options, but their nutritional value leaves much to be desired.  Many cereals that are marketed to children have just as much sugar as an entire dessert.  In fact, some kids’ favorites—including Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and Post’s Golden Crisp—are composed of over 50% sugar (based on weight).

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University released a study that shows that cereals marketed to children have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber, and 60 percent more sodium, when compared to other cereals on the shelves.  According to the same study, the top 10 advertised cereals to children with the poorest nutrition content were: Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cap’n Crunch, Trix, Froot Loops, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, and Cookie Crisp.

A good rule of thumb is to seek out cereal with 10 grams or less of sugar per serving, like Honey Bunches of Oats or Multigrain Cheerios. Or, skip the crunch all together in favor of homemade oatmeal and fruit. Studies have shown that doing so can help you to concentrate better in school, as well as maintain a healthy body weight.

Contributor: Jillian Di Fillipo

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