Two thirds of breakfast cereals 'would be more at home in the biscuit aisle'

They may cause you to reminisce about the simpler and wholesome days of your youth, but most popular breakfast cereals are so full of sugar, they’d be better placed with chocolate bars and biscuits in the supermarket, a study has revealed.

Consumer watchdog Which? has come out against manufactures, claiming they don’t do enough to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.

[Related feature: Top 10 healthiest breakfast options]

“Cereals aimed at children were particularly disappointing, with high levels of sugar found in 12 out of 14, meaning that many would be more at home in the chocolate biscuit aisle,” a spokesman said.

Kellogg’s Frosties are the worst offender according to the Which? report, with 37g of sugar per 100g of cereal. More than 12.5g of sugar is considered excessive. Left: Frosties were voted the worst sugar offender Right: Chocolate rice cereals followed closely behind

In total, 32 of 50 cereals surveyed were found to be high in sugar. The list also includes products like Kellogg’s Special K which are marketed as healthy or slimming options.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: “Parents will be particularly surprised by the fact the majority of children’s cereals contain so much sugar. More action is needed by retailers and manufacturers to provide a wider choice of healthier cereals.”

[Related feature: Low-calorie breakfast ideas]

Lloyd said a lack of consistency and simplicity in product labeling across different brands make it difficult for parents to quickly choose healthy options for their family.

While the consumer group embraces the use of ‘traffic light’ labels, which indicate the levels of fat, sugar and salt with red, amber and green colour codes, many companies use different servicing sizes as the basis for their calculations, which can be confusing to consumers.

“The Government needs to encourage manufacturers to take action over sugar levels and provide consistent nutrition labelling so it is easy to see exactly what you are buying.”

And the healthiest breakfast cereal on the market? That would be Nestle’s Shredded Wheat, which had low levels of sugar, fat and salt. Left: Special K was found to be full of sugar Right: The healthiest option is good ol' Shredded Wheat

Which? did say that they were happy to see lower levels of salt in most breakfast cereals they tested.

Kellogg’s dismissed the report, saying it provides clear nutritional information and gives consumers a huge selection of choice.

The Breakfast Cereal Information Service, which speaks for the industry, rejected a link between cereals which are high in sugar and obesity.

[Related feature: The bittersweet truth about sugars hidden in your food]

[Related story: Do we need to regulate sugar?]

“A huge number of studies show that consumers who eat breakfast cereals have a lower body mass index than non-consumers and are at less risk of being overweight.

“A recent study looking at children confirmed that breakfast cereals are the most nutritious choice. The study found that prevalence of obesity was higher in breakfast-skippers than cereal consumers.”

Will this information change your breakfast eating habits? Are you surprised by the results? 

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