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Healthy Eating

Entries in kids' cereals by sugar content (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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EWG’s Report on Worst Kid’s Breakfast Cereals: More Sugar Than Snack Cakes and Cookies

Breakfast is an important part of starting off a productive day, providing nutrition, energy, and focus, but not all breakfasts are created equal, especially when it comes to kids’ cereals.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published a report that examined 84 popular Highest sugar content in the EWG report. Stock photo.cereals for sugar content, finding that most had more sugar than your average snack cakes and cookies.

The nonprofit research and consumer advocacy group found that children who eat high-sugar breakfasts have more problems at school.

“They become more frustrated and have a harder time working independently than kids who eat lower-sugar breakfasts. By lunchtime they have less energy, are hungrier, show attention deficits, and make more mistakes on their work,” said the EWG.

Topping the EWG’s list for most sugar in a kid’s cereal was Kellogg’s Honey Smacks at nearly 56 percent sugar content by box weight. “A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie,” said the group.

EWG Top 10 Worst Kid’s Cereals for Sugar Content (sugar percentage by box weight)

  • Kellogg’s Honey Smacks – 55.6 percent
  • Post Golden Crisp – 51.9 percent
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow – 48.3 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch OOPS! All Berries – 46.9 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original – 44.4 percent
  • Quaker Oats Oh’s – 44.4 percent
  • Kellogg’s Smorz – 43.3 percent
  • Kellogg’s Apple Jacks – 42.9 percent
  • Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Berries – 42.3 percent
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original – 41.4 percent

The EWG finds that overall, only one in four kids’ cereals meets the voluntary guidelines proposed earlier this year by the federal Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children – a panel of federal nutrition scientists  and marketing experts assembled by Congress in an effort to fight childhood obesity in the United States.

For ready-to-eat cereals, the federal interagency guidelines recommend that there be no more than 26 percent added sugar by box weight.

The EWG would like to see even stronger federal guidelines proposed, saying that, “they should limit sugar content in cereal to no more than 15 percent, a bar already met by a number of children’s cereals, not the 26 percent cap currently proposed. They should be mandatory, not voluntary.”

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