Would you give your kid cake for breakfast?
“Part of a nutritious breakfast.” The anything-but-innocent phrase can be found at the end of just about every cereal (and Pop Tart and “toaster pastry”) commercial ever made, right?
They make it look so healthy, sitting there next to that tall glass of orange juice, topped with a sliced banana.
But of course, this particular part of that “nutritious” breakfast is nothing more than a sugar bomb.
In fact, you might as well serve up a big slice of chocolate cake, for all the good it’s doing your kids–and don’t even get me started on all the vitamin “fortification” they claim on the boxes.
A new study from the Environmental Working Group reviewed 84 brands of breakfast cereals marketed for kids, and what they found is pretty alarming when you consider just how many kids are starting their day with this junk.
The findings: Two thirds of the reviewed cereals contain more added sugar by weight than the government recommends. Only one in four of them actually meet the optional guidelines set by the Interagency Working Group (IWG) in an attempt to improve the nutrition of foods aimed at kids. That means only 25 percent actually adhere to caps on sugar, sodium, and saturated fat–three major factors in the biggest health problems our nation faces.
Of course, the standards are optional, and most of the industry is basically ignoring them. I mean, just try selling a kid a box of shredded wheat that isn’t doused in sugar. Spoiler alert: The kid doesn’t buy it.
Now, what I find particularly shocking isn’t that cereal makers are ignoring these optional guidelines or begging for them to be lowered (I mean, come on, that’s not a surprise). It’s not even that out of 84 brands, 54 of them blasted right past the IWG’s proposed limit.
No, what I find shocking is that the guidelines allow for up to 26 percent added sugar. That’s right, more than a quarter of that box of cereal can be pure sugar and still be called healthy!
In a shining example of excess, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks are more than 50 percent added sugar by weight. That translates to one tiny ¾ cup serving being packed with 15 grams of sugar. And that’s a full 3 grams more than is recommended.
Honestly, you might as well just pour your kid a bowl of candy for breakfast because it’s nearly the same thing.
P.S. Think it’s carpal tunnel, but not sure? Keep reading.
“Popular Kids Cereals as Sugary as Desserts, Review Finds,” Food Safety News (foodsafetynews.com)