Too much sugar in kids’ cereal

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Consumer reports are on the rise. Monday there was one released concerning frozen and breaded fried chicken. Today I want to call attention to one that was released last Thursday—too much sugar in kids’ cereal. The consumer report stated that there is more sugar in some cereals than there is in a glazed doughnut.

On the NBC Today Show, co-news correspondent Ann Curry and NBC News reporter Kevin Tibbs interviewed senior nutritionist Linda Somers and nutritionist Heidi Skolnik. They gave vital information about cereals that contain the most sugar, ones that contain less sugar and how to get children to eat healthier cereals.

In his opening statement, Tibbs said that the new study found that many breakfast cereals for kids, by weight in some cases, are literally loaded with 50 percent sugar. Those that top the list are Post Golden Grahams and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks.

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Somers said that very little nutrients are attached to sugar — it’s just a carbohydrate, a calorie source and nothing else. She said that a cereal that contains the lowest amount of sugar is Cheerios, with one gram of sugar.

Skolnik said that kids’ cereals should contain less than 10 percent grams of sugar per serving. She named cereals that contain 40 percent grams, which were Honey Smacks, Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Trix, Golden Crisp, Cap’s Crunch, Cocoa Krispies, Reese’s Puffs, Honey Grahams, and Lucky Charms.

Healthy and good cereals named were Cheerios, Kix, Life and Honey Nut Cheerios.

In addition, Skolnik said that parents should look for cereals that contain wheat germ, oats or whole grain. She said that our taste palates in the United States are for salt and sugar and that this situation perpetuates our preference for very sweet or very salty foods.

Rice Krispies was named as being rich in salt plus it is a puffed white rice. Skolnik stated that even though it contains a small amount of sugar, it is a white rice, which is not as healthy as brown rice.

Kellogg’s released the following statement: We encourage kids to eat a balance diet. That is ready-to-eat-cereals including the pre-sweetened varieties, are nutrient dense, low in fat, and are an excellent sources of dietary fiber.

However, recent studies are showing that one-third of our kids are overweight so what’s a parent to do?

Skolnik had an answer. Fool your kids. If a child prefers the sweet cereal, simply mix it with a healthier one. This way the cereal will still be very pleasing to his palate.

You may say that this is a very simple answer to a concern that contained necessary vital information.