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Eat Your Dessert … er Breakfast

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Eat Your Dessert … er Breakfast

Some kids’ breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. A new EWG report looks at 84 cereals - and doesn’t sugar coat its findings.

Kids whose parents tell them, “No dessert until you eat your meal” may be laughing all the way to the cereal aisle. A new study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicates that some popular kids’ breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. The EWG’s report, Sugar in Children’s Cereals: Popular Brands Pack More Sugar than Snack Cakes and Cookies, looked at nutrition labels from 84 cereals manufactured by four companies (Kellogg’s, Post, General Mills, and Quaker Oats). Their aim was to determine how many were following new voluntary recommendations proposed by a US federal panel earlier this year that set maximum levels of fat, sugars, and sodium. After examining 84 cereals, the EWG study found that 64 failed one or more of the panel’s guidelines on sugar, sodium, and fat. Their study found that a bowlful of Honey Nut Cheerios, with its smokescreen of whole grains and honey, packs more sugar than a handful of Chips Ahoy cookies. We all know by now the health impact of all that sugar: ever rising obesity rates among children and adults. For days when you need a quick breakfast, opt for a healthy choice from the upper reaches of the cereal aisle. Here’s what to look for when choosing a good-quality cereal. Low added sugars:  Sugar can be accounted for both in the Nutrition Facts label and in the ingredients list. Dried fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals; however, it may increase the total sugar content found in the Nutrition Facts label. Ensure the sugar is coming mainly from the dried fruit by checking the ingredients list to determine whether there is added sugar. Fibre: Choosing a cereal with just 7 g of dietary fibre per serving provides 28 percent of our daily recommended intake. Whole grains: Read the label carefully and look for the words “whole grains” on the label and in the ingredient list. Avoid products made with refined grains. Organic: Avoid exposure to synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and fertilizers, as well as genetically modified ingredients, by choosing cereals labelled as certified organic. Fun ideas for kid-friendly breakfasts don’t have to come out of a brightly coloured box harbouring a sugar bowl of sweetness. There are plenty of ways to make breakfast fun—without the sugar coating.

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