A list of the “10 Worst Children’s Cereals” reveals that Kellogg’s Honey Smacks was the most significant offender ina a new study, containing 55.6 percent sugar by weight.
The study released Wednesday was part of a study by Environmental Working Group (EWG) researchers who are concerned about the high sugar content found in popular varieties of cereals that are favorites of children.
In the analysis EWG, a Washington, D.C.-based health information non-profit, found that a bowl of Honey Smacks contained 20 grams of sugar, which is more sugar than in a Twinkie cake that has 18 grams of sugar.
The second worst cereal – Post golden Crisp – had a sugar by weight content of 51.9 percent. The following list includes the top 10 and their sugar by weigh percentages:
- Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, 55.6
- Post Golden Crisp, 51.9
- Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow, 48.3
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch OOPS! All Berries, 46.9
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch original, 44.4
- Quaker Oats Oh!s, 44.4
- Kellogg’s Smorz, 43.3
- Kellogg’s Apple Jacks, 42.9
- Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries, 42.3
- Kellogg’s Froot Loops original, 41.4
One cup of any of the 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies, according to the report.
Aside from ‘empty calories’ that lacked vitamins, minerals, of fiber, health expert Dr. Andrew Weil also says that 50 years of nutrition research has confirmed that, “sugar is actually the single most health-destructive component of the standard American diet.”
The study was in response to the surge in childhood obesity and to food companies’ advertisements that target children. EWG hopes their results will pressure Congress to recommend a lower limit to the maximum amount of sugar that belongs in children’s cereals.
“The fact that a children's breakfast cereal is 56 percent sugar by weight – and many others are not far behind – should cause national outrage,” EWG said in a statement.
Half of the cereals on EWG’s list came from Kellogg. The company disputed the report, according to Reuters. The company says that the recommended serving of Honey Smacks is ¾ of a cup, and that it is not marketed to children.
"Kellogg has reduced the sugar across our U.S. kids' cereal by approximately 16 percent," said Lisa Sutherland, vice president of nutrition at Kellogg North America, to Reuters.
Elaine D. Kolish, director of the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative said in a statement that before the CFBAI was launched in 2006, some cereals advertised to children had 15-16 grams of sugar per serving. Now, none of the cereals advertised to children have more than 12 grams, she said.
However, EWG claims that only 25 percent of children’s cereals in the study met the proposed guidelines of the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketing on Food Marketed to Children, which is no more than 26 percent added sugar by weight.
Nearly one in five children are obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has also reported that childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years in the United States.
“Nearly 20 percent of our children and one-third of adults in this country are obese. Our children face a future of declining health, and may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. We must provide consumers with the information they need to make healthier choices and prevent misleading claims about the nutritional contents of food,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in a statement.
“The bottom line: most parents would never serve dessert for breakfast, but many children’s cereals have just as much sugar, or more,” said Jane Houlihan, EWG’s Senior Vice President of Research.