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Healthy Eating

Entries in Environmental Working Group (2)


EWG New Report on Sugar in Children’s Cereals: One Serving Equal To Three Chips Ahoy Cookies

The Environmental Working Group’s newest report, Children’s Cereals: Sugar by the Pound, finds that very little has improved since 2011 – the last time the group did a survey of the cereal industry.

Honey Smacks 56% sugar content per box. Image from Kelloggstore.com.

As part of a larger study, the EWG again reviewed a smaller sample of 84 popular children’s cereals that had it originally evaluated in 2011 and found that while a handful of manufacturers lowered the sugar content of their cereals, “the vast majority are still too sweet to be healthy, averaging two teaspoons per serving.”

The new report did a comprehensive analysis of 1,556 cereals, including 181 marketed for children and found that “not one was free of added sugars.” In addition, the group found that, “On average, children’s cereals have more than 40 percent more sugar than adult cereals, and twice as much as oatmeal.”

Also among the concerning issues highlighted by the report were how these cereals were marketed to children, prominent nutritional claims, and the use of unrealistically small portion size measurements on nutritional labels.

The report found that for many cereals, a single serving size exceeded 60 percent of the daily amount of sugar suggested by health agencies and organizations, and “because the serving sizes on cereal labels are unrealistically small, many children eat multiple servings in a single siting.”

The EWG defined cereals marketed to children as those with cartoon characters on the boxes and found those were “the most heavily loaded with added sugar, making them a significant source of empty calories.”

The EWG illustrated this point by saying, “A child eating one serving per day of a children’s cereal containing the average amount of sugar would consume nearly 1,000 teaspoons of sugar in a year.”

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Conventionally Grown Apples Top 2011 List of Fruits and Vegetables High in Pesticides

Informing consumers about the amounts of pesticides sprayed onto conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, and their potential effects on the human body (especially children), the Environmental Working Group has come out with its seventh annual “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.”

Photo courtesy of arch1design.com.

The shopper’s guide updates information on 53 fruits and vegetables, highlighting the worst pesticide offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the cleanest conventional fruits and vegetables with its “Clean 15” list.

The six worst offenders of the dirty dozen (from highest pesticide levels to least) are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, and imported nectarines.

The rankings were synthesized by analysts at the EWG and based on data collected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2009.

The produce was ranked on a composite score, weighing factors including: the percent of individual produce tested and found to have detectable levels of pesticide on them; and the percent of individual produce with two or more pesticides on them.                                        

Of the apples tested, 97.8 percent had detectable levels of pesticides on them, and of those with pesticides on them, 92 percent contained two or more pesticide residues, according to the findings.

To make matters worse, most samples were washed and peeled prior to testing, so the rankings reflected the amount of chemicals likely present on the foods when eaten.

Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and greens (kale and collards) were the vegetables most likely to retain pesticide contamination.

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