To most of us, it was probably not news to hear that the cereals most heavily marketed to children are often the least healthy. However, seeing headlines like “Sugary Cereals Like Serving Dessert for Breakfast”* and “Sugary Brands Doing the Most Kid Chasing” ** I was still compelled to read. Now, according to the Time Specials article cited below, obesity researches have the data to prove what we’ve been suspecting. Time ranks the least healthy cereals here but you may be left wondering, just how bad are they? After all, these products often claim to be made from “whole grains” and sometimes carry various health association seals of approval So, let’s compare “guaranteed whole grain” Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal to a Kit Kat Bar. Here’s a quick look comparing a full serving of cereal to one half of the bar, to make serving sizes comparable.
When comparing macro-nutrients (carbs, fat and protein) it’s clear that there is not much difference between a bowl of sweet cereal and half of a chocolate bar. This gives the numbers some perspective, doesn’t it? Most parents wouldn’t consider sending their children to school on a breakfast of candy, but is cereal that much better? I’d like to note that a micro-nutrient comparison (vitamins and minerals) is not available, as these values are not indicated on candy labels. It stands to reason that the cereal, being fortified, would provide more vitamins and minerals. However, this synthetic fortification is outweighed by the high levels of sugar, as sugar is an anti-nutrient. Further, we should also note, a chocolate bar is never intended to be a breakfast. However, for a product that is intended to be served as a nutritious breakfast, and is in fact marketed as healthy, the nutritional quality of most sugary cereal is unacceptable.
*Montreal Gazette Article
** Time Article
Hi, I'm Shara Vickers, a Nutritional Health and Fitness Specialist located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Please have a look around to find out more about my approach to health and the coaching and consulting services I offer to both local and long-distance clients.