“Hall of Shame” list for sugary cereals

Posted 06/25/2014 | By HealthCorps

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a new report, highlighting the many cereals on supermarket shelves that offer way too big a dose of sugar in a serving size. Many of these cereals are very popular with kids, so parents need to read the nutrition labels on the cereal boxes. A child should not be starting off their day with a cereal that appears to be healthy and fortified, when it actually packs more than 50% of its weight in sugar. To translate, that means that 50% of the weight of your child’s cereal serving is sugar!!!! That also means the cereal has as much sugar as a serving of 3 cookies. That can add up to 10 lbs. of sugar a year, if your child has just one serving daily, not to mention that starting a child’s day with a high sugar meal is a guarantee that they will feel hungry and tired within hours, when their blood sugar levels crash.

What is equally disturbing is that few if any of the high sugar cereal manufacturers, mentioned on EWG’s 2011 report, have reduced the sugar levels in the past couple of years, despite childhood obesity rates. Even more alarming is that the front-of-the-box ads on many of these cereals suggest vitamins and minerals and other positive attributes, despite the excessive sugar content – very confusing to consumers.

So parents, be smart shoppers, because that cereal you are grabbing for your child whose label suggests “a great source of six B vitamins,” may actually be 52% sugar by weight. And more than likely you are pouring your child a bowlful and not minding the serving size, which is typically a ½ cup or ¾ cup size. Aim for a cereal that has 6 grams of sugar or less, per serving, and measure out portions. Add milk or yogurt plus nuts and fruit to add bulk and healthier calories to a breakfast of cereal.

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