USA Today ran a story this week confirming what a casual glance at any supermarket shelf would suggest – that the majority of breakfast cereals aimed at kids are packed with sugar and low in fiber.
The article states: “Cereals marketed to kids have 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber and 60% more sodium than those aimed at adults, according to the report from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity…The least nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children.”
Being an American study, the brands are largely U.S. based, but it seems likely the same broad facts would apply to most markets. According to Fooducate, a San Francisco-based blog intended as “a personal grocery advisor, helping people choose the best food for their families,” parent should:
“Look for cereals that are high in fiber (3 grams and up per serving), low in sugar (less than 6 grams), and low in sodium (less than 120mg). If your kids complain that they are not sweet enough – you can always add a spoonful of honey, maple syrup, or sugar to the milk.”
Health researchers at Yale University have developed a useful database called Cereal FACTS, designed to help parents and other interested consumers “learn more about the companies, brands, cereal nutrition scores [and]food marketing techniques.”
Users can enter a company or cereal name and obtain a nutritional rating, as well as information like sugar content and whether the cereal contains artificial sweeteners. The site is a very useful resource for helping parents make more informed choices about what foods they provide for their kids in the morning.