Sugar Content in Cereal

//Sugar Content in Cereal

We’ve probably all heard the old adage that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” right?

While this is a true statement for many reasons (breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the morning so that your boy can get into a proper fat burning state), did you know that breakfast is often the most sugary meal of the day as well?

If you are consuming certain Brand Name cereals on a daily basis, you better check the box labels for sugar content.  Your “most important meal of the day” just might be the very meal that is sabotaging your health as well as your kids’ health (not to mention the waistline for many of us)!

In an article written by Laura Coffey of MSNBC, she reports how “a new analysis by Consumer Reports found that 11 popular breakfast cereals contain at least 40 percent sugar by weight. That’s at least as much sugar as you’d get in a glazed doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Two cereals — Post Golden Crisp and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks — contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight.”

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to get that much sugar, I’d rather have the doughnut!

The article by MSNBC also stated that in a 32 nation study, the sugar content was less for the SAME brand of cereal when sold in European Countries!!  I think these other countries have wised up to unnecessary sugar and how its effect on health and weight.  They do not allow General Mills and Kelloggs to put unnecessary amounts of sugar in their cereal.  Maybe we should take some notes!

“For instance, Honey Smacks sold in Germany, Switzerland and Slovenia contain about 40 percent sugar, compared with 55 percent in its U.S. counterpart.”

Some cereals have nearly 20 grams of sugar per serving.  Let me put that into perspective for you.  4 Grams of sugar equals 1 tsp.  1 serving of Kelloggs Raisin Bran Crunch, containing 20 g of sugar per serving, is like shoveling in 5 tsp. of table sugar.   We would NEVER allow ourselves or our kids to sit with a spoon and eat table sugar straight out of the bag.  However, this is exactly what we are doing when we eat these supposedly “healthy” cereals.

Other cereals containing nearly 20 g of sugar (i.e. 5 tsp. of sugar!) are Kellogg’s Mueselix with Raisins, Dates, and Almonds (17g), Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (19g), Post Cinna Cluster Raisin Bran (19g),  General Mills Raisin Bran Total (20g), Oatmeal Krisp Raisin (18g), Raisin Nut Bran (16g)and Post Premium Raisin Bran (20g).  Ok, so what’s up the the Raisin Bran’s being higher in sugar than Kelloggs’ Smacks (15g), Smart Start (15g), Fruit Loops (15g), Apple Jacks (16g), and Quaker’s Lucky Charms (13g)?

One note when  you are looking at labels for sugar content is to check the SOURCE of the sugar.  If the label reads Sugar, Brown Sugar, or Corn Syrup, avoid these cereals all together.  Read this post to see why. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague!  These are worse for your body than regular table sugar (sucrose). Some sugar content in healthier versions of the above cereal may come from fruit, honey, evaporated cane juice (still sugar, just less processed…it contains no bleach!  Yes, sugar is bleached to make it white!).

Finally, avoid enriched wheat products. “Enriched” is a sneaking marketing term because enriched products have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients and had synthetic vitamins thrown back in at the end.  These synthetic vitamins are not recognized by the body and do more harm then good.

Action Steps:

  1. When choosing cereal, pick only whole grain, NEVER enriched wheat products.
  2. Look for HIGH fiber, and LOW sugar per serving.
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners in cereals.
  4. Mix up your breakfast. Cereal is quick, but so is a protein shake!  We give our kids a shake daily and it takes about 1 minute to make and another minute to drink. So it’s even faster than a bowl of cereal that will most likely wear off in an hour and leave you or them starving again!!
When you sleep, your body is in a fasting and repairing state.  How you break the fast (hence the word “breakfast”) is crucial to how your body operates for the rest of the day.  Make Breakfast the best meal of your day, not the most sugary!

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