The cereal aisle is often the site of parent-child debates over colorful, sugar-laden brands. But parents may be surprised to learn that "sugary" doesn't really describe a number of options–the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has analyzed more than 1,500 breakfast cereals and identified a dozen that contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight. Children's cereals contain the highest percentage of sugar as a group–34 percent–and many of the worst offenders are actually store brands, the group found. EWG also estimates that American kids will consume 10 pounds of sugar each year at the breakfast table.
Running just behind the top 12 are Apple Jacks with Marshmallows (50%), and Froot Loops with Marshmallows (48%), both of which are produced by Kellogg's.
The EWG recommends that parents read the Nutrition Facts labels carefully and choose cereals with the lowest sugar content. "Look for cereals that are low-sugar [no more than a teaspoon (4 grams) per serving] or moderately sweetened [less than 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) per serving]," the report recommends. Better yet, it suggests, prepare breakfast from scratch, using whole grains like quick-cooking oatmeal and real fruits like bananas.
Earlier this week, Kellogg Co announced plans to drop "All Natural" and "100 Percent Natural" labels from some of its Kashi and Bear Naked products in response to a lawsuit that alleged fraudulent use of those terms.
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Image: Sugary cereal, via Shutterstock