Report: Breakfast cereals loaded with too
much sugar for U.S. kids
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[May 15, 2014]
By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) — U.S.
children are consuming more than 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) of sugar annually
if they eat a typical morning bowl of cereal each day, contributing to
obesity and other health problems, and cereal makers and regulators are
doing little to address the issue, according to a study released on
The Environmental Working Group, a Washington,
D.C.-based health information non-profit, said its report covers
more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.
As part of the report, the group re-examined 84 cereals it studied
in a similar report in 2011, and found that the sugar content of
those cereals remained on average at 29 percent. Some cereals had
increased sugar content now compared to 2011, and none of the 181
cereals marketed to children was free of added sugars, the group
found. On average, children’s cereals have more than 40 percent more
sugars than adult cereals, EWG said.
"Obviously we know cereals have a lot of sugar in them," said Dawn
Undurraga, an EWG consultant and a co-author of the report. "But
there is a lot that manufacturers can be doing and FDA can be doing,
to protect kids."
The group said one of the worst offenders is Kellogg Co.'s Honey
Smacks, with 56 percent sugar by weight.
A child eating an average serving of a typical children’s cereal
eats more than 10 pounds of sugar a year from that source alone, and
the average daily intake of added sugar for children is two to three
times the recommended amount, the EWG said.
A Kellogg official said the company has cut sugar in its top-selling
kids’ cereals by 20 percent to 30 percent over time. The company
said the EWG report ignores the benefits provided by a cereal
breakfast, including pre-sweetened cereals.
"When you consider what constitutes a good breakfast, cereal and fat
free milk pack a powerful nutritional punch, lower in fat and
calories than many other breakfast choices, and including many
nutrients that people might otherwise miss," said company
spokeswoman Kris Charles.
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The report is the latest in a push by consumer and health groups to
convince food companies and regulators to cut unhealthy ingredients
from packaged food products.
In March, the Food and Drug Administration proposed that added sugar
content be listed in nutrition facts panels on packaged foods. But
the serving sizes need to be more accurately labeled, the EWG said.
Cereal maker General Mills also has already cut the sugar content in
its cereals advertised to children, on average by 16 percent since
2007, according to spokeswoman Kirstie Foster. The company's cereals
advertised to children have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving,
with some at 9 grams, Foster said.
The EWG said companies should not market cereals containing 6 grams
of sugar or more per serving to children.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Chizu
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