HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Kids’ cereals: Sugar by the pound

It’s no surprise that some kids’ cereals contain a lot of sugar.

But just how much sugar do they contain? According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, children’s cereals are, on average, 34 percent sugar by weight.

Environmental Working Group analyzed 1,556 cereals on the U.S. market. The group found that 92 percent of cold cereals in the U.S. come preloaded with added sugars, and every single cereal marketed to children contains added sugar.

In 40 of the cereals, a single serving exceeds 60 percent of the daily amount of sugar suggested by health organizations. And that’s just for one serving – many children eat multiple “servings” in a single sitting, according to the report.

In addition, children’s cereals contained, on average, more than 40 percent more sugars than adult cereals.

The group found that more than 60 percent of children’s cereals contain a spoonful or more of sugar in every three spoonfuls of cereal.

Only a dozen cereals contained a teaspoon of sugar (4 grams) or less per serving. Less than 25 percent of cereals contained fewer than 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

Here are the 13 most sugary children’s cereals, according to the report:

National brands:

-Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, 56 percent sugar by weight

-Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs, 56 percent

-Post Golden Crisp, 52 percent

-Kellogg’s Apple Jacks with Marshmallows, 50 percent

-Kellogg’s Froot Loops with Marshmallows, 48 percent

Store brands:

-Food Lion Sugar Frosted Wheat Puffs, 56 percent

-Krasdale Fruity Circles, 53 percent

-Safeway Kitchens Silly Circles, 53 percent

-Food Club Honey Puffed Wheat, 50 percent

-Key Food Apple Wheels Cereal, 48 percent

-Shur Saving Apple Whirls, 48 percent

-Safeway Kitchens Apply Orbits, 48 percent

-Essential Everyday Golden Corn Nuggets, 48 percent

And here are the 10 least sugary children’s cereals, each containing 1 teaspoon of sugar (4 grams) or less per serving:

National brands:

-Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, gluten-free, 3 percent sugar by weight

-General Mills Cheerios, 4 percent

-Post 123 Sesame Street, C is for Cereal, 4 percent

-Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, 11 percent

-Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, 12 percent

-Kellogg’s Crispix Cereals, 14 percent

Store brands:

-Springfield Corn Flakes Cereal, 7 percent

-Valu Time Crisp Rice Cereal, 9 percent

-Roundy’s Crispy Rice, 12 percent

-Shop Rite Scrunchy Crispy Rice, 12 percent

The average 6- to 11-year-old boy in the U.S. consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day. The average girl that age consumes 18 teaspoons.

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, according to the report.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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