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Kids' Cereal Rated

There's some new information out today that will come in handy the next time you're walking down the grocery aisle trying to decide what kind of cereal to buy for your kids. Consumer Reports has conducted its first nutritional analysis of cereals marketed to children.

In a report that will be published in November issue of the magazine, only four out of 27 cereals are rated as "Very Good" because they are relatively low in sugar, have some fiber, are high in iron and are a good source of calcium. They are Cheerios, Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios and Life. Cheerios topped the list with only 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per serving.

At the bottom of the list are Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Golden Crisp, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Rice Krispies, Cap'n Crunch and Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Crunch. They have lots of sugar, little fiber, and may be high in sodium. Golden Crisp and Honey Smacks are more than 50 percent sugar, and another nine cereals are at least 40 percent sugar. In fact, there is at least as much sugar in a serving of Honey Smacks and 10 other cereals as there is in a glazed doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts, the analysis showed.

Although Rice Krispies has only 4 grams of sugar per serving, it gets only a "Fair" rating, mostly because it is higher in sodium and has zero dietary fiber. Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size is rated as "Good" because it has 12 grams of sugar per serviing but is very low in sodium and has 6 grams of fiber.

The ratings are based on the energy density and nutrient content of the serving size recommended on the label, which an outside laboratory confirmed as accurate. A teaspoon of sugar per serving was considered low in sugar while low sodium was considered to be 140 miligrams or less per serving. High fiber was 5 grams or more per serving. The nutrition score reflects a balance between the amount of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and calcium and those that should be limited, such as sugar sodium and fat.

The magazine noted that a study it conducted of 91 youngsters ages 6 to 16 found that on average they poured themselves 50 percent to 65 percent more than the suggested serving size.

In addition, the magazine said it was part of a 32-nation study that found that several cereals sold in the United States had more sugar and sodium than the same brands sold overseas. For example, Honey Smacks sold in Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland were about 40 percent sugar, compared with 55 percent sugar in the U.S. product..

By Rob Stein  |  October 1, 2008; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness  
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Pffft. When I was a kid, I lived on Boo Berry, Frankenberry, Lucky Charms and Crazy Cow (bet nobody remembers that one!). I turned out OK.

Posted by: twasneva | October 2, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

If Golden Crisp and Honey Smacks have more than 50% of the RDA for sugar, that doesn't mean they "ARE more than 50% sugar". That would mean the box is more than half full of pure sugar. Somehow I doubt that.

Posted by: scoot | October 2, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The above may have turned out okay, but refined white sugar dissolves teeth enamel more effectively than anything else in the American diet. Some dentists consider sugar toxic because of its attacking properties. If you couple the cereal w/ a fast food diet where sugar is put in the breads/buns, and obviously in the soda, then we have teeth being constantly bathed in sugar.

Posted by: john dale | October 2, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, here is the ingredient list for Honey Smacks - of the first four ingredients, three are sugar in various forms. The only other ingredient that would create bulk is wheat (I'm not expert but I don't think the other ingredients would creat much bulk), so it's not hard to imagine that the box is half wheat and half sugar....


Posted by: maybe it IS half sugar... | October 2, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the suggested serving size and kids pouring more than that out for breakfast: Perhaps the problem is that the serving size is RIDICULOUS. If you don't pour enough out, you're going to be hungry halfway through the morning at school -- and teachers aren't exactly keen to allowing kids eat in their classrooms.

Posted by: Ryan | October 2, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Sugar does not destroy tooth enamel, acid does.
Per Wikipedia: The mouth contains a great number and variety of bacteria, and when sucrose, the most common of sugars, coats the surface of the mouth, some intraoral bacteria interact with it and form lactic acid, which decreases the pH in the mouth. Then, the hydroxylapatite crystals of enamel demineralize, allowing for greater bacterial invasion deeper into the tooth. The most important bacterium involved with tooth decay is Streptococcus mutans, but the number and type of bacteria varies with the progress of tooth destruction.

Posted by: 21117 | October 2, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Did they look at the cereals in the healthy foods aisle? What about the Envirokids cereals, Barbara's Puffins, Kashi Mighty Bites, etc.? There are alternatives.

Posted by: PA Mom | October 2, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Don't get it. DD eats the same cereal as I and DH do - just a low-sugar multi-grain flake thing or muesli. Why do kids have to have their own cereal at all?

Posted by: DopeyMummy | October 2, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I was raised on Raisin Bran and Cheerios - now the other cereals taste way too sweet to me. (though occasionally I do have a yen for Lucky Charms)

Posted by: CrunchyDude | October 2, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

For the kids - they get HN Cheerios, Cheerios, Kix, mini wheats, etc. or hot homemade pankcakes (healthier high fiber blend than box mix - blech!) and waffles, omelets, etc. for breakfast. It better prepares them to make it through the morning in school over the high sugar cereals and the related sugar crash. For me - the occasional treat is good. I just finished a bowl of Frankenberry from my hiding spot in the pantry - yum!

twasneva - Crazy Cow was the chocolately kix type cereal?? fwiw - Target is carrying frankenberry, count chocula and boo berry right now for Halloween. enjoy!

Posted by: mom | October 2, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Don't feed your kids Kashi cereal. There is TOO much fiber in that. Seriously. My son passed gas more than 50 times in one day (ok, I didn't count, but it was more than 20). Just stick to good old Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios. If you mix 1/2 and 1/2 of the two they never know the difference. Boo Yah.

Posted by: KASHI | October 2, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What? No oatmeal? We used to call it "goatmeal" for our kids. "Do you want some goatmeal?" Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar every morning.

The stinkin' cat used to jump up on the table to lap up the sweetened, oatmeal-tasting milk left over by the kids when they ran out the door to catch the school bus.

"Get off the table!"

Posted by: Don Robertson | October 2, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with PA and DP, kids don't need kids' cereals. My son has eaten multi-grain cheerios since he started on solid food. He is nearly 8 and still eats dry cheerios as a snack at times. He is also so used to water with meals, he just gets it himself. He gets about 6 ounces of juice total a day, usually OJ or cranberry mix. Soft drinks have crept up, but we discourage it (almost never at home). He loves McD's kid's meals, and gets one at least weekly, but otherwise he eats daily from among spinach salads, carrots, brocolli, green beans, black beans, navy beans, long grain brown rice, pasta, fresh fruit, salted nuts, and small low-fat meat portions. We, the parents, do the shopping, so how can we fail to give nutritious food? I hope that my household is typical, we don't feel special. This kind of food just tastes good. I think our worst sin is too much salt.

Posted by: Cannonball | October 2, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Ah. Once again a study that analyzes the obvious. Remember when Corn Pops were called "Sugar" Pops; Frosted Flakes were "Sugar" Frosted Flakes? There names were changed to protect the guilty. Years ago a study was conducted feeding mice only cereals. The only mouse that survived on the diet was the one eating Cheerios.

Posted by: Michael Tatom | October 2, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Why are we surprised, cereal is what we feed livestock to get them fat...

Posted by: Juan Carlos Olivar | October 2, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Um.... they needed to do a study to let me know that Cap'n Crunch has a lot of sugar? What a stupid waste of money! This study only points out the obvious!! I can't believe money and time was spent on this.

Posted by: chitown | October 2, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Read the nutritional labels. Don't delude yourself into thinking that the cereals in the "healthy" isle are actually healthy. Puffins are no better for your kids than Captain Crunch. Just because it is sold in Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, MOM, etc. does not make it healthy.

My kids love plain old fashioned hot oatmeal with 1 teaspoon of sugar and a little shake of cinnamon and for a special treat raisins. I make a big pot of old fashioned oats and we microwave individual servings throughout the week. They also like boiled eggs and fresh fruit. When we are in a rush we get out the cheerios. When they have most commercial cereals they bounce off of the walls.

Posted by: mommyworks | October 2, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Ryan, I'm sure a child would be hungry if they only had a serving of cereal for breakfast. Remember that cereal alone does not account for a well balanced breakfast. Juice oranges for 4-6 ounces of fresh juice daily and cut up a banana or apple to accompany their cereal.
Kashi is fine for children. It really depends on their overall diet. If it's not well balanced, then yes, you're going to notice their body reacting to getting some awesomely healthy alternatives.
Cannonball, if you're feeding your child McDonald's weekly, you should write to them often to urge them to hurry in replacing all the oils they use with TFF ones. They're lagging behind (Burger King is finally picking up the pace and we can expect all TFF oils by the end of the year). I don't eat there, but I'll keep writing too, for the health of your children and others. :)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn about nutritional necessities and balancing. I'm 25 and I raise my younger brother and keeping us healthy is my first priority. I can manage this, school, my social life, and a job just fine.

Posted by: erika | October 2, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

My DS hates cold cereal. He will rather go hungry than eat it. The kids rather for me to fix toast and eggs, or they like peanut butter toast. During the colder months they eat lots of oatmeal.
I don't like to keep many sweets in the house. I do occaisonly buy a package of cookies. When I do the kids devour them in 2 days.
I have recently started putting less sugar in our tea. The kids haven't noticed.
We homeschool so when they get hungry they get a healthy snack.

Posted by: bootsie1 | October 2, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

My DS hates cold cereal. He will rather go hungry than eat it. The kids rather for me to fix toast and eggs, or they like peanut butter toast. During the colder months they eat lots of oatmeal.
I don't like to keep many sweets in the house. I do occaisonly buy a package of cookies. When I do the kids devour them in 2 days.
I have recently started putting less sugar in our tea. The kids haven't noticed.
We homeschool so when they get hungry they get a healthy snack.

Posted by: bootsie1 | October 2, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh drat, chitown stole my line! Seriously, I'm almost 40 now and when I was a kid the only cereal allowed in the house was Cheerios, so that means my parents were aware of the unhealthiness (if that's a word) of most kids cereals a minimum of 22 years ago! I'm happy to say I'm following in my parents footsteps w/my 18 month old, although she has yet to give me grief about it! ha ha

Posted by: tl | October 2, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The CEO's of these companies should be ashamed of selling poison to our kids.

Posted by: Y2K | October 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

You can actually buy the web address and use it to list all the best breakfast foods in order of nutrition, etc.

Posted by: edwards | October 2, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Obesity in children in the US is an epidemic...too many sweets, too many 'convenience' foods wh/ have fat, sugar and sodium. Today's children are sedentary, rarely outdoors as in past years. Also simple sugar messes up kids metabolism...we have obese kids, diabetic kids, physically mis fit kids and etc. Convenience cereals can be healthy, just pick the top 4...and save yourself many future doctor bills, and avoid for your children the self image problems fat kids have.

Posted by: Anna | October 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I serve my son Cheerios -- what does he do? Add eight sugar packets. Then it has as much sugar as the bottom rated anyway. They leave out the fact that kids add sugar to those cereals, so the rating isn't fair. Even I as an adult add a packet or two of sugar to Cheerios!

Posted by: NJ from LA | October 2, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The real culprit is the High Fructose Corn Syrup, guess CR will report on that in the next issue.

Posted by: Brad | October 2, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

It's oatmeal for me most mornings, made from old fashioned rolled oats, with about a teaspoon of sugar for quick, short-term energy, the starch in the oats for the next 2-3 hours, and a pat of butter to extend it to 5-6 hours. I feel much better, too, since I quit the glass of orange juice and mug of tea or instant cocoa with breakfast. I haven't bought a cold cereal in about eight years, and really don't miss it. The oatmeal practically cooks itself in a double boiler while I shave and get dressed. So sorry, Kellogg's, Post and General Mills!

Posted by: Andrew P. | October 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

For the love of Pete. If Kashi gave your kid gas you should consider the fact that he may not be getting enough fiber in his diet overall. If you must feed your child sugary refined crap at least try to cut it with something healthy, whole grain, and high in protein (like Kashi GoLean). Protein keeps you feeling full longer than orange juice and bananas (ummm...which are basically sugar and sugar, respectively, with a few vitamins and a little fiber). Repeat after me: more veggies, more truly whole grains, lean protein, and some fruit.

Posted by: shazbot | October 2, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

We are so lucky in this country. Some kids don't get anything to eat in the morning! The reality is, as my budget shrinks from a loss job and cut income for my husband, whatever is on SALE tends to go in the kitchen. Thank goodness for Trader Joes, who still offer quality products that I can afford.

Posted by: NJ from LA | October 2, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

What is astounding to me is that, even knowing this information, parents will continue to allow their children to eat the bottom rated cereals and/or add too much sugar -- BECAUSE the children are in charge. The children say what they WILL eat, the parents obey.


Posted by: WB | October 2, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Companies (or at least the ad firms they pay to sell their cereal) know what kids like-sugar and cartoons. I don't know of any adult cereals with a magical leprechaun trying to get me to buy it and I don't know of any kids that would pick out Special K over Smacks. I don't blame the companies for trying to make a buck off unhealthy cereal (the stuff is delicious), but reasonable adults would only serve it in moderation-both to themselves and to their children. You wouldn't let your kids throw back a half pack of Oreos for breakfast.

Posted by: DA | October 2, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I think that this is a really good artical, because there are so many different types of cereal that parents dont know what to buy for their children. I will need to take this in to cinsideration when I need to buy cereal for my kids when i am old enough.

Posted by: Maegan | October 2, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't think cereal for breakfast is good for anyone, much less kids; it's nothing but starch, and what does starch turn into, in our systems? Sugar. If you must serve cereal, serve high-fibre low-sugar cereal and boost it with protein - eggs, for instance, or cheese or meat. Protein is what sticks with you and it will fend off hunger long after the sugar has fled your system.

Posted by: Lili | October 2, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

As I child I lived on Alpha Bits, Count Chocula, Lucky Charms etc. Then why is it Europeans have such bad teeth and americans don't?

Posted by: Petro | October 2, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

scoot said:
"If Golden Crisp and Honey Smacks have more than 50% of the RDA for sugar, that doesn't mean they "ARE more than 50% sugar". That would mean the box is more than half full of pure sugar. Somehow I doubt that."

Here is what the article states:
"Honey Smacks sold in Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland were about 40 percent sugar, compared with 55 percent sugar in the U.S. product.."

That those cereals are 55% sugar is possible; the figure did not mention RDA. Fifty-five percent sugar does not mean "the box is more than half full of pure sugar." Cereals have low density; if you could somehow extract the pure sugar from a full box of Honey Smacks and put it alone in the box, it would probably be an inch or two high. But yeah, that's still way too much sugar to be considered healthy. It's more like candy.

Posted by: nonagon | October 2, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

When they talk about the ingredients being half sugar that doesn't mean it is a half box of sugar. Imagine if you ground up all the cereal, you would end up with maybe a quarter of a full box and half of that would be sugar.

Posted by: vince | October 2, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Check out Raisin Bran -- it has twice as much Sugars than Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

Posted by: Joe | October 2, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Scoot - you are a republican, aren't you?

Posted by: Snarkfest | October 2, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Petro said
"Funny, As I child I lived on Alpha Bits, Count Chocula, Lucky Charms etc. Then why is it Europeans have such bad teeth and americans don't?"

The reason is we generally have better dental care and use better dental care products in the United States.

Posted by: nonagon | October 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The serving sizes are ridiculous. I weigh just over 100 lbs (not a big eater!) and I always eat 3-4 times the suggested serving size -- with a good deal of real milk -- along with other breakfast foods. I do not see how any less can possibly be filling or considered any sort of breakfast meal or even a light snack.

Obviously breakfast cereals contain sugar because they're supposed to get you energized for the day. Kids could just as well eat a bowl of tasteless cereal then a light sugary snack and they'd get a high sugar intake that way -- and lots of them do.

There's nothing wrong with sugar. It provides energy. Is this a bad thing nowadays?

Posted by: Sean | October 2, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't doubt this report at all. I've been a (diagnosed) type 1, insulin-dep diabetic for the past 13 years. I'm in tight control of my blood sugar numbers because I read labels. When sugar is the first or second ingredient in cereal, you know you're in for trouble. Oftentimes, they'll also list high-fructose corn syrup and other sugar derivatives. These products are okay in moderation, but regular consumption has proven to lead to overweight kids on the fast track to diabetes.

Posted by: Jon | October 2, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Rice Krispies are sweet?! Boy, you fooled me!

Posted by: I Love Cereal! | October 2, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"I serve my son Cheerios -- what does he do? Add eight sugar packets."

and there is the heart of the problem. many parents don't know the word NO. or they don't have the strength to enforce it. the easiest way i have found to avoid bad-for-me foods is to not even bring them into the house. i don't even own sugar or salt. the food will taste just fine without it if you are genuinely hungry. yes, i lapse from time to time, but it is way easier to avoid temptation once a week at the grocery than every day in front of the fridge.

Posted by: cassandra | October 2, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Why do you assume that Europeans have bad teeth?

Posted by: anneke | October 2, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

No, we have better teeth in the US due to fluoride in our water supplies. This is why rural America does not have beautiful teeth - they drink well water. I grew up in Germany (military) and the American school made all the kids use a very strong fluoride rinse once a week to compensate for the lack of fluoridated water.

Posted by: 21117 | October 2, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Hard to swallow that Rice Krispies rates under anything Frosted. I consider sugar a huge enemy to health down the road and try to keep my kids from eating it.

BTW, I live in Europe, and both the French and German labelling claim that Rice Krispies is whole-grain -- I think it's a mistranslation of puffed "whole grains of rice", but a fairly misleading mislabelling.

Posted by: rikken | October 2, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, well I read a long time ago the reason sugar is added, is not so much for taste, it is to cover the MOLD, many cereals have MOLD and that is why the kids have runny noses and cold like issue, it is from the MOLD.

If you really love your kids, toss the moldy cereals and just make time for them.

You can get up at O dark thirty can't you?

Let's see, I gave my son eggs, toast, pancakes, juice,and BACON, he did not eat cereals cause he could not drink milk.

Now as an adult, he love coco puffs and suffers a run to the bathroom when he eats them.

My mom eats shredded wheat, to me that is like eating your straw broom.

Me I just do not eat breakfast, 24 years of having to be at work with my tool box open by 6 am. Me bad.

Now Job loss too! So now:

Mine is coffee, never use to drink coffee but now into bad habits, must be the stress.

I will probable just live off Coffee, cost of food is so high.

Posted by: Free Thinker | October 2, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Captain Crunch is God.

Posted by: Jerry | October 2, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I want some Trix! But I'll go with Raisin Bran again...

Posted by: Bomqueesha | October 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Consumer Reports is at it again, fooling people into the misguided notion that ANY cereal is healthy.
Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat accumulation/metabolic syndrome.

The old-dogma farts at CR should read a medical journal once in a while.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Truth in advertising:

"A bowl of Corn-Os and milk gives your child the vitamins and minerals of a bowl of milk!"

Posted by: Big D | October 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Cereal is the leading force in Grocery Store Marketing. Sugar frosting ans Ads pushed expensive cereal over less expensive oatmeal and wheat meals. It was all marketed to kids, and still is, for the most part. Personally, I grew up on the Plan-Jane cereal, I was only exposed to lucky charms and coco-puffs the first time I slept over a friends house. After that, my mother didn't allow more then one box of sugar cereal in the house, and only as a snack. This may be the reason I have never been a sugar cereal person, unlike my wife. I like that the cereal companies have gone to whole grain, but all said and done, its like taking a healthy vegetable, frying it and covering it in salt. Personally, I have never had much concern about starches, I am active, and have no problem burning off what I eat. I also eat relatively healthy because that is the way i was brought up. (those delicious Philly Cheese Steaks are my bane)

Posted by: Justin | October 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Overall we eat a healthy diet. Our cereal shelf always has a variety of cereals. Often Froot Loops are on it, along with Honey Nut Cheeiros and Life. Moderation in all things is key. A bowl of Froot Loops a couple of times a week is not a big deal.
And yeah, I remember Sugar Smacks and Sugar Pops!

Posted by: Angela | October 2, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Kids don't buy cereal, their parents do. Sugar is used to pacify unruly, spoiled, ill-tempered brats so their permissive, PC parents won't have to discipline them. Take away Tony the Tiger and you would have societal melt-down~!

Posted by: dave | October 2, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Stop blaming the "evil" corporations.

Everbody knows what is in these cereals and that is not the problem it is the lack of exercise.

I eat these cereals daily(or more) with no deleterious affects, but then I exerecise a lot. 4 marathons and an ironman per year plus all the training that goes with that.

As a parent you must either control their diet or control their exercise to have healthy kids. Eating sugar is not evil if your kids watch little TV and are constantly outside playing.

Posted by: Triathlete | October 2, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we all do. Maybe that's why 1 out of every 3 of us is enormously overweight. Maybe that's why our children look like little stay-puff't marshmallow men. We are becoming a country of slobs.

Posted by: Path | October 2, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

We already know 95% of this from leading labels (at least those of us that care in the first place). So where's the list and the rankings? Consumer reports is a sham. You'll never get detailed data because they'll sue anyone that puts it up and their 'magazine' articles seldom consist of no more than 1-3 pages of information about their 'studies' with no detailed reference for 'consumers' to turn to for their own interpretations. Quasi science at best. Mostly a unionist enterprise with no leaning towards openess and truth. You'll be about as well off believing manufacturers who are required to disclose more information about their studies and claims than consumer reports ever does.

Posted by: Give Me Some Details | October 2, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Country of slobs? I can see that, I can also see that Wall Street has been full of the same slobs for many years now. Let the pigs eat themselves to death, I say. The United States and its dreams will live on and be here still for the children of us patriots.

Posted by: Blue | October 2, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The ones at the bottom of the list are my favorites and I am ok. This sseems like a ploy to sell more honey nut cheerios. You live only once. Live it the way you like.
Sugar is absolutely important to the body. Especially when you are a kid, because that is the growth phase!!.

Posted by: K.C | October 2, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

With our boys, cheerios are for throwing into the toilet to aim at so you don't make a mess peeing. Thats their best feature; they float, they're flushable and you can get a whole box of them for not too much money.

If Cheerios really are as good as it gets, we'll stick to steel cut oats and whole grain toast.

Posted by: Oatmeal! | October 2, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

When I was growing up, I didn't eat any of the "fun" cereal. I ate eggs and rice. I don't feed my kid garbage cereal or fast food. If your kid is eating too much suger at breakfast, guess what its YOUR FAULT!!

Posted by: ReUnpack | October 2, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Well I am happy that as a kid I had a choice; cornflakes or rice krispies for breakfast. That great cereal selection available to me as a kid ruined my adult taste for any cold breakfast cereal. Blech!

Posted by: not a cereal fan | October 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Are we really surprised to see that these cereals are filled with sugar? The nutritional value is right there on the box... This is one of the most ridiculous stories I've seen deemed as news! Next there'll be a huge expose on the sugar content in non-diet pop.

Posted by: Nancy | October 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

My son is 14 months old and we give him only organic products. Organic cereals may have some cane sugar but they don't have corn syrup which is processed crap. I find the organic cereals taste better. I remember "Golden" Crisp & "Honey" Smacks being changed from Sugar Crisp & Sugar Smacks when I was young. They didn't change any of the ingredients did they?

I was allergic to milk when I was a kid and wanted only cereal for breakfast. So I always had water in my cereal and poured in the sugar for taste (my mom would always get me Cheerios or Kix only). I know, gag!

Posted by: Stephanie | October 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

It is the parents who buy the cereal, not the children. All the info is on the box. It is up to you to make the right choices as it is with everything in life.

Posted by: Responsible | October 2, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

FiberOne Honey Clusters 6 grams of sugar and 51% daily value of fiber. It will keep you in the bathroom 2 or 3 times a day! Enjoy!

Posted by: Fiber Man | October 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Cereals in general are bad. There are so many better alternatives to cereal. Why cereal has become the "breakfast food" is beyond me. They are all more harmful than good.

Every single cereal you will find has some ingredient that will turn into a form of sugar: gluten, refined sugar, -ose, etc.

These ingredients are exceptionally detrimental to health and people don't realize it.

In the 1900's the average sugar intake per family per year was 5 lbs. Today it is nearly 120 lbs per person per year. Sugar is not only the key to obesity, but plenty of other health problems as well.

Bleached/Enriched wheat products are up there as well.

If you are adding sugar to your cereals because they aren't sweet enough for you, just think about why that is. Maybe it's because you are taking too much sugar in your diet and are somewhat addicted to sweets.

Posted by: Chris | October 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the scariest ingredient in these cereals (besides sugar) is hydrogenated oil. Yikes! Why do these companies put our kids at risk?

Posted by: Valerie | October 2, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

while lots of added sugars and salt certainly do not help, the lack of physical activity is likely more of a culprit. Remember our relatives a hundred years ago? They ate eggs, gravy, biscuits, bacon, ham, cooked with lard, etc. Their physical activities were much more strenuous. Nowadays we have super size combo meals and added sugars while technology lets us do less and less activity. Our kids now compete on Madden online with each other instead of outside at the local school playing a pickup game of football.

AS to what kids will and won't eat, parents need to take responsibility. My kid eats what I tell him too or he doesn't eat. He learned its better to be full than win the argument.

So if your kid eats these cereals, it is entirely your fault for buying them in the first place. Shut up and own up.

Posted by: stielle | October 2, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Who does not know this- even your children can tell what what................
Be a parent- suck it up and serve healthy meals- its not difficult and the price of those cereals compared to a box of Oatmeal will save you some cash in the long run.
I wish the govt would get out of everything

Posted by: edra | October 2, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

eat bag of oats like an equine

Posted by: seabiscuit | October 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

A lot of nonsense, I remember as a pup eating kennel rations for breakfast

Posted by: Rover | October 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"In the 1900's the average sugar intake per family per year was 5 lbs. Today it is nearly 120 lbs per person per year. Sugar is not only the key to obesity, but plenty of other health problems as well."

In 6000 BC we ate roots or snails. We were not fat

Posted by: Urga | October 2, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised to see so many people wholeheartedly defending sugar. Sure, it's fine in moderation, but the truth is, it's in virtually every kind of packaged food on the market, from breads to cereals to pasta sauces. Foods high in carbs makes us crave more foods also high in carbs. I think this effect is more pronounced in some people than in others, but that's an observation, not science. Small amounts of sugar at breakfast are fine, but need to be balanced out with some protein. And really, most of the sugar we eat should come from natural sources, like fresh fruit. Those kinds of sugars metabolize more easily and don't result in a sugar crash. Wake up people, there's a reason we have higher incidents of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in children now than ever before. Less exercise is one reason, but poor diet is the other. Leave the sugar for treats and feed your kids (and yourselves) a healthier breakfast, for crying out loud!

Posted by: Patti | October 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Sugar to cover the "mold" in cereal? hmmm, I think the FDA would have something to say about that.

For the holier than thou's who think parents can control everything their kids will eat: If my kids had to choose between eating something they didn't want to eat for breakfast or not eat at all, what do you think they'd do? If you chose not eat at all, you'd be correct. And that's the truth. I'd rather they eat something, so yes, must opt for the not particularly heathly at times. Pick your battles.

Posted by: me in the other Washington | October 2, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Happy to see Life, Cheerios and Kix on the "very good" list along with Mini-Wheats on the "good" list. They are in our cupboard. Also Chex, Kashi, and McCann's oatmeal. Two mornings a week, we have pancakes (oatmeal or buttermilk) and sometimes they get eggs. When we go on vacation, the kids get to each pick a box of the bad cereal.

I well remember boxes of Super Sugar Crisp in my youth, though my mother would have me think that it was all muesli and fruit with homemade yogurt (which it was, most of the time).

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

the sad thing is that on most people's budget, we can only usually afford to buy the cheapest cereals on the aisle, which are usually filled with sugar.
cereal over the past couple of years has increased tremendously in price. if you want the kids to eat healthier; provide CHEAPER alternatives....

Posted by: general dad | October 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

To the fart smeller: you are a good parent. I just wish more parents were fart smellers instead of smart fellers.

Posted by: Jack P | October 2, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

...some people are happy to gorge on sugar and turn out "OK".

Posted by: dMIner | October 2, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

ummm...all grains, so your body thinks it's all sugar, why would you give your kids diabetes so early?


Posted by: Evolutionairy Fitness | October 2, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: prm | October 2, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Many who posted here note that they ate a lot of high-sugar cereals growing up and turned out "okay." Kids today, however, tend to get more sugar through other sources. I know a 13-year old who eats sugary cereal and a coke for breakfast. Her lunch is usually a candy bar. Her dinner is often mac and cheese and a dessert. While she is not overweight because of her high activity level, she does have poor grades and has been diagnosed with ADHD. Is it possible her sugar diet causes poor concentration? Is it possible that her acquired childhood taste for lots of sugar will cause obesity as soon as her activity level and metabolism slows down in adulthood? Is it possible that she will develop adult onset diabetes by her 40s? I hope parents will take the time to encourage a healthy diet with their kids, which includes limited sugar. Lessons learned in childhood do tend to carryover into adulthood.

Posted by: Junebug | October 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Those high sugar content cereals make your kids hyper active which in turn the school system incorrectly diagnosis your kid with ADD. You then allow them to drug your kids and they turn into zombies and later dope heads. Wake up parents and pay attention to what is going on with your kids.

Posted by: Jack P | October 2, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

There hasn't been white sugar in cerial in years. It's all High Fructose Corn Syrup now. Most people seem oblivious to this and think it is the same kind of sugar. The corn syrup is worse for you.

Posted by: bdhact1 | October 2, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know of an adult yogurt in a gogurt style container?

I love gogurt b/c I eat it for breakfast on my way to work, but the stuff in there can barely be called yogurt after all the pink food dye and artificial flavoring.

Posted by: bipp | October 2, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Parents need to practice healthy eating habits as a role model for their children. Don't sit around drinking 5 beers laid back on the couch, or two-three cans of soda for lunch and dinner while telling your kid not to eat that super sweetened cereal.

It IS the parents responsibility to feed their children right. You need to provide for them health food, whether they accept it right off or not. They will when they find their is nothing else to eat and hunger gets the best of them.

Don't store unhealthy crap in the house though - 24 pack's of soda, little debbie cakes, candy bars - Store healthy stuff, and your kids will eat healthier.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I too grew up with Cap'n Crunch, Count Chocula and my own favorite--FREAKIES. And like many of you have said already, I turned out more-or-less okay.

BUT...I also played outside, rode my bike to school, to practice, to my friend's houses--and just to RIDE. The neighborhood kids from 6 to 16 turned out most evenings to play football together (TACKLE, horror-of-horrors). Video games were of the PONG variety so "reality" was still more interesting. And there wasn't a single overweight, pre-diabetic child for miles.

I'm sick to death of "news" that indirectly condemns companies who sell "bad" products. We as parents have the choice to NOT buy them! Any parent who doesn't realize "Golden Crisp" is a box of little sugar pellets should be tarred-and-feathered.

I guess my point is this: Frankenberry once in a while isn't going to kill a child; years of inactivity and an otherwise unbalanced diet WILL (eventually). And those incompetenancies lie not with the "evil" cereal companies, but with a child's PARENTS.

Posted by: RoniMan | October 2, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

A simple method to determine relative sugar content of any labeled food:

On the Nutrition Facts label, look for Serving Size (usually about 30 grams for cereals). Then look for "Sugars" (under the bold heading "Carbohydrate"). Divide Sugars by Serving Size and express as a percentage (move the decimal point over two places to the right).

Example: Honey Nut Cheerios
Serving Size: 28 grams
Sugars: 9 grams
9/28 = 0.3214 = 32.14% sugar

And that's considered "good"! Look how standards are compromised by the prevailing conditions-- and by food industry influences. Sugar sells. Unfortunately, it also undermines health, at least in the quantities prevalent in the standard American diet.

Sean: have you been living in a media blackout lately? Yes, sugar is "bad" (see above qualification). As we refine our models of nutritional health, we will discover all manner of negative influences in our present nutritional habits-- and perhaps we'll recover some positive ones as well.

Recommended reading (albeit possibly itself a bit dated, given new research, but still very good information):

The Glucose Revolution
by Wolever, Brand-Miller, Foster-Powell, and Colagiuri (M.D.s and Ph.D.s)

Ah, I see now on Amazon that it's become a whole series. Good, it's catching on. I found the original book very enlightening, and I was already a label-reader.

Posted by: BG | October 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

OK? OK?? OSAMA ate sugar!!!

Posted by: eat antiterrorist granola | October 2, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I eat gruel every day. It is not as filling as the workinghouse Master likes to think because every day I feel like asking for more.

Posted by: Oliver Twist | October 2, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Reading these comments is very entertaining. When Scoot was asked if he was a Republican I immediately thought I was reading comments under some new story relating to the election. Priceless!
The sweetest cereal we had growing up was the occassional box of King Vitamin, but I think the King was brought up on charges of some juvenile sex crime with Gary Glitter.
When I was young though we did play outside most of the time. That all changed when we got an Intellivisin video game system, but fortunately Mom and Dad knew to kick us outside on the nice days to play. In the dirt, with no anti-bacterial products that allow only those bacteria that would otherwise not survive get by and produce more anti-bacterial resistant measures, but I digress. Go fig.

Posted by: Okay | October 2, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Urga, 6000 years ago we only lived to 35.
Eat anything you want in moderation. That last word is the difficult one for me and most people.

Posted by: Blogger | October 2, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

My sister was incorrectly diagnosed with ADD by her school. She was actually allergic to corn syrup which is found in many of these cereals. When she stopped consuming corn syrup it changed her personality entirely. She is a calm, sweet little girl when she doesn't eat all the candy and cereals containing high sugars and corn syrup. I worked at an elementary school for several years and wouldn't be surprised if more children are having reactions to corn syrup and sugar as my sister did.

Posted by: Robyn | October 2, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Eat a beneficial ol' time meal like our ancestors.

Colonial American breakfast: beer, poorige or cornmeal, molasses.

breakfast of patriots

Posted by: Paul Revere | October 2, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

That is why I pick bacon and eggs any day. Less sugar, increased happiness.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Republicans eat a patriotic breakfast ! The breakfast of champions ! Democrats are so lost, they actually don't know what they eat for breakfast.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's get one thing straight... corporations are evil and so are their CEOs. However, what is going on with all of this finger pointing? There is blame to place everywhere and it is not so simple.

First, as parents, we are responsible for what we feed our children and how much we feed them. We all know what is in our cereals, so we can't act surprised. But feeding your kids these cereals don't make bad parents either. As with anything, we need to set examples for our kids. It's ok to eat pizza, but not everyday ALL day! Certain cereals should be the treat and not an everyday offering.

On the other hand, some people may not realize that healthier options are not always friendly to the struggling families' pocketbooks. Can everyone here honestly say that they know what it feels like to count your change to see if you can afford to buy that precious half gallon of milk and a box of cereal for the kids... just enough food until you get your paycheck on Friday? With the way most of you are talking, I doubt it. And if you ever were in that situation, you have forgotten.

Which brings me to another point... why aren't healthier options made more affordable for the poorer people in our society. Why is it that junk food, fast food, sugar filled, fatty crap is always made so easily available and the stuff that's "good" for you is outrageously priced. All organic means is that it was grown/made the way it used to be before we created all of these artificial additions and pesticides, etc. You mean it costs more to be sure that I get milk from a cow that wasn't injected with all sorts of crap? You would think that the more natural a food is, the cheaper it should be. I could rant on and on on this forever, but I'm venturing off the focus of cereal.

Back to the cereal... it is a shame that these CEOs sit back and collect a fat, undeserved check for backing products they know aren't the best fit for a healthy diet. I wonder how many of them faithfully consume their own products and feed their own kids all that crap on a daily basis. But they do it because they can. Because we all let them. Because we all sit back and complain and shake our fingers at them and then we turn around and shake our fingers at the parents who should "know better." A lot of the time, these cereals are cheaper because, and you don't have to be a genius to see this, if you had a choice between, let's say, a TV dinner and a homecooked steak dinner with fresh vegetables offered for the same price, which would you choose? So these junky, sugar-filled cereals are offered at a lower price to entice the shopper. And if you are living paycheck to paycheck or on Coinstar, you shop according to what gets you the most "bang" for your buck. And all the bigwigs at these companies sit in their office and shed a tear over their bank statement with their fat account balance, thinking about you, your struggle, and your child's diabetes.

You want a healthier society? Start taking care of yourselves and each other. Realize that these companies don't give a crap about you or your family or your community.

Maybe you buy that cereal because you just love it, but don't judge your neighbor for buying it when you can clearly see their pudgy kid doesn't "need" it. But I say, hey, if you are TRULY outraged by the crap in the cereals, nothing shows your displeasure more than not buying ANYTHING from the offending company. Don't support them. I bet that if enough of these outraged or concerned citizens just stop buying anything associated with the companies, they'd take note. And I bet the next time most of you are at the store, walking down the cereal aisle you won't think twice about buying that cereal you love so much not even thinking about how sad it is that for some, it's the only breakfast option available to them. And no, not everyone can get up and prepare a huge, hot breakfast. I can't imagine many of you would have the energy after working two jobs, overtime, sleeping 3 hours, to get up early the next day to get the kids to school and do it all over again.

It's a crime that it isn't automatic that we do what is best for our health and the health of the people as a whole.

Posted by: Sickened | October 2, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Skip breakfast for your little brats

Less meals = less farting for little Janie or little Billy.

Less farting means less Global Warming! Be green, keep em lean!

Posted by: Al G, TN | October 2, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

There must be alot of kids doing the grocery shopping. How else does the cereal get from the store shelf to your kitchen. Next time my 8 year old grabs the keys to the car and heads for the store, I'll demand he pick up soda and donuts too !!! HEY PARENTS LOOK IN THE MIRROR, DO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO LOOK JUST LIKE YOU.

Posted by: Have another DONUT | October 2, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Get your 8 Y.O. to pick you up some beer too.

Posted by: DONUT DON K | October 2, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

You can try going Japanese/Asian:

Burgers for breakfast

Posted by: Gojira | October 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey DONUT DON K we can use the beer instead of milk (less fattening) and add some cut up SLIM JIMS instead of bananas. YUM YUM .....

Posted by: Have another DONUT | October 2, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

These cereals exploded in marketing and popularity during the early 80s and have been around for decades before then. If you were a kid in the 80s you were a nobody unless you downed boxes worth of sugar frosted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Mr. T and Super Mario Bros cereal on a weekly basis. I'm sure these 80s franchised cereals put Honey Smacks' sugar content to shame. What I'm trying to say is that any new obesity trend has little to do with cereal. It has more to do with inactivity than anything else. Sure NES was popular in the 80s but every kid still played backyard football, kick the can, capture the flag, biked around town, etc on an almost daily basis. Now parents and kids are told that playing Wii is exercise. Kids no longer throw footballs and get roughed up playing backyard sports. Contemporary lazy parents don't care though, they love Wii, it contains their kids to the living room all day, night and through the weekend.

Plus feeding your kids Whoopers and burritos on a daily basis because you're too lazy to make homemade food is a real problem, not sugar cereal. No matter the cereal it at least gets kids to ingest vitamin enriched food with milk.

This is yet another scapegoat for lazy parenting.

Posted by: The Truth | October 2, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Cereal are very nice, use Chinese milk too

Posted by: liu long | October 2, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It's all Gov. Palin's fault. I'm sure of it now.

Posted by: Jim | October 2, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Bacon is just as bad for you as cereal by the way.

The problem is that the average American thinks they are educated on nutrition, but they really have no idea. What is being taught in health classes across America today is severely outdated as well.

You have to do considerable research to learn the real benefits to eating organic over commericialized, processed, and mass produced foods.

Junk foods are cheaper because they are mass produced, and it is much cheaper to create the genetically modified crap that is pumped full of nutrients our body doesn't know how to even process.

Just because a nutrition label says it has 10g protein doesn't guarantee that your body can even use it.

Ingredients are the absolute key to knowing if a food is good or bad. Don't even look at the Nutrition Facts.

People have so many misconceptions about things like Calories, Fat consumption, and Sugars, it's so sad.

RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF. And yes, you can find cheap alternatives, but you have to put forth the effort. Educate yourselves and act.

If there is enough demand for high quality organic, non-GMO foods, commerical companies will have no choice but to switch over to this methodology as well effectively lowering the cost.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree Jim.

Posted by: Gwen I. | October 2, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Correct anon, I only eat organic twinkies

Posted by: Mr Atlas | October 2, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

When I was little, in the mid 1960s, I ate Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Cap'N Crunch... with SPOONFULS OF SUGAR ADDED ON TOP! I know! I also never had a cavity until I was 16 years old. Go figure.

I have never had health problems, am slightly underweight for my height, and am now a vegan. Honestly, sugary breakfast cereals, like most things in life, are fine in moderation.

Posted by: Gabrielle | October 2, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi twasneva! I used to eat chocolate and strawberry Crazy Cow back in '78 when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade! I remember the commercial on TV too! It ended going something like, "Now now crazzyyyy coowwwwwwwwww...."

Posted by: Mike | October 2, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The fact that the US government subsidizes the production and storage of high fructose corn syrup from the Midwest is the reason that we need to fill our soft drinks, cereals, breads and most everything else with sugar. Tastes great, keeps dentists and obesity workers in business and to maintain the false economy. Kids will eat what they are given, and I see too many TRIX and Capt Crunch eaters here.

Posted by: really? | October 2, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

mommyworks wrote: "Puffins are no better for your kids than Captain Crunch." Though it's true that health aisle cereals can still be high in sugar and fat, in this case I disagree. Puffins are sweetened with molasses for 5 g of sugar per serving. They're one of my favorite healthy cereals. (Cap'n Crunch, on the other hand, has artificial color, artificial preservative and 12 g of sugar per serving.)

Posted by: Calliope | October 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

How did the cereal get to my house ??? It jumped off the store shelf and attacked me and my shopping cart. Demanded to be taken home and force fed to my kids. Don't go down that aisle, bad cereal boxes.... HEY PARENTS, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SOME FRESH FRUIT ?????

Posted by: Have another DONUT | October 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

As another poster mentioned earlier, Nutrition Facts are almost always misleading. Your eyes should go towards the Ingredient listing first and foremost.

High Fructose Corn Syrup, for example, is much worse for your body than the same "Sugar" amount of organic Cane Sugar.

Also, just because it says Sugar 8g, doesn't mean that your body is only getting 8g of sugar from the product. A lot of other garbage will break down into sugar after the body metabolizes it, increasing this number greatly.

I would have to agree that Nutrition Facts are the biggest misinformation presented on any food label. Learn your ingredients, and what they are.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I think that kids should be able to eat what ever the want.

Posted by: Normal kid | October 2, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Parents, go the extra mile and cook your kids a breakfast. Nothing extravagant:

- An egg or two.
- Whole grain toast (stay away from bleached/enriched wheat products)
- Real butter (margarine is actually worse than real butter)
- Throw in some berries (no melon for breakfast - in fact melon should be consumed by itself only)
- A large glass of milk and a 6 ounce glass of orange juice.
- Some all organic, non-processed Turkey Sausage.
- Steel cut oats with a splash of all natural honey or 100% natural maple syrup.
- Cook up an omelet with some wholesome vegetables.

Stay away from bleached/enriched products and minimalize starches. Carbohydrates are important, but Americans are getting absolutely too many carbohydrates today. Extra carbohydrates are just metabolized into sugar, increasing obseity.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

OMG, does it take a bunch of doctors in 2008 to understand that too much sugar and sodium is bad. Duh Capn' Crunch is loaded with sugar- taste it for god's sake! This study was a waste of time and money- put the money towards a cancer cure.

Posted by: James | October 2, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Recommended serving sizes are pathetic on almost every box of cereal I've ever seen. Who on earth eats 1/4 cup of anything for breakfast when that's the main course???

The industry standards are horrible and nonsensical. They play number games with servings so they can say "Look! Our stuff is low calorie..." BAH! If serving sizes were standardized at 1 full cup minimum, we'd see just how nasty some of these cereals really are for our children (and ourselves).

Posted by: Joe R. | October 2, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Remember Ruskets, anybody?

Posted by: HMVincent | October 2, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"That would mean the box is more than half full of pure sugar. Somehow I doubt that."

The first and third ingredients on a normal box of cereal are sugar and corn syrup, which are both saccharides (sugars). The second ingredient is typically wheat which can contains a lot of saccharides. Plants are mostly sugars and fats.

"Sugar does not destroy tooth enamel, acid does."

Sugar carbohydrates (mono or poly saccharides) have many oxygen-hydrogen groups, which are pretty much quite acidic in the realm of organic molecules. Saccharides are about 3 times stronger acid than water (pka ~ 12, water pka ~15) so they are very acidic compared to what's going on in your mouth.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Some of the posts on here are completely idiotic and most of all scary. Are you people that ignorant? Are you all the same people that end up on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. Sugar is good who cares they say, my goodness.

Posted by: Very Concerned | October 2, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Eat home made breakfast - avoid all this nonsense crap made by corporations. They are out to kill you.

Posted by: Girish | October 2, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

when I was a kid we never had sugared cereal, it was Cheerios or corn flakes or Kellogg's K, but we always had a sugar bowl at the breakfast table and used it plenty.

Posted by: rockb4 | October 2, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I ate captain crunch and at 51 I still do LOL

Posted by: noship | October 2, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What I think stinks is that Kelloggs and Post get about $4.00 for a box of cereal that costs them 12 cents per box. No matter how they cut it, thats highway robbery and near monopoly like margins.

That's the real rub to me - cereal should be affordable as it feeds children and not comparable to steak in terms of cost per lb.

Greedy corporations stink.

Posted by: Miles | October 2, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Hamma Lamma Ba oglethorp green Ivan lemonz

Posted by: BOB | October 2, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

50 to 65 percent more than the recommended serving? 300 percent more is closer to what I would pour as a kid (or now).

Cheerios, Kix, and others were low in sugar -- that's what the sugar bowl was for, to douse them with enough to put them up there with the good stuff and leave a nice sugar/milk syrup at the end to finish off with.

And for those oldtimers like me, "Golden Crisp" used to be named more honestly, as "Super Sugar Crisp".

Posted by: Craig | October 2, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

my mom makes me breakfast its freaking awesome. eggs, sausage (organic stuff too), milk and toast. it freaking rocks. whenever i stay over at different friends houses its like wake up and find a box of cereal for breakfast. so boring and lame. seriously sugar in small moderation is ok i think, but people need to cut stuff like soda and sweet snacks out of their diets for sure. that crap does more to you than just make u fat - stuff you wont realize til your older.

not to mention u get mad chiks with a hot bod :D

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@Very Concerned, you are way wrong. Added sugar is rubbish and should not be in your diet at all. Fruits and vegetables have plenty of natural sugars and are delicious. Once you've weaned yourself off added sugar, try savoring some fruit.

I sure hope Consumer Reports bothers to suggest that people make their own breakfast mix. Instead of finding the best of the worst, it should note that there are far better options than this mass-produced nonsense. Our kids love our homemade muesli, oats porridge, muffins, pancakes etc. And no need for added sugar!

Posted by: Committed eater | October 2, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Heck, why worry about what your kid is eating? Just send him to school with ADD or ADHD medication. Isn't that what most lazy parents do these days anyway??

Posted by: Clarence | October 2, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

...Lord knows dumping 100's of dollars on psychiatrists, doctors, and medications is cheaper than just buying healthy food in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

With the new nanny state we live in I fully expect the government (starting at the state level) to ban the consumption of Honey Smacks at restaurants and in public places.

Posted by: Steve G | October 2, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm moving in with "Committed eater". Sounds like they have it 2gether.

Posted by: Mike | October 2, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't help but scan these when I saw a "comments" section. I'm amazed how much time people have for the senseless when there are so many critical issues to deal with. Truly and "american idol" culture!

Posted by: John | October 2, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The rule at our house has long been that cereal has to have less than 10g sugar per 1 c. serving. This can be achieved by mixing "candy" cereal with a less sweet cereal. It has resulted in my kid being pretty good at reading labels, and beginning to develop a sense of how much marketing is aimed at getting his attention. At six or seven he figured out that if there was a movie or cartoon character on the box, then it probably wasn't healthy, and pondered the implications of that.

Posted by: Lex | October 2, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Scoot - You must be a democrat!
Snarkfest - you must be an idiot...

Posted by: WIllBob | October 2, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Consumer Reports is at it again, fooling people into the misguided notion that ANY cereal is healthy.
Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat accumulation/metabolic syndrome.

The old-dogma farts at CR should read a medical journal once in a while."

To the person who said this: Your a jackass. Firstly, Carbs do NOT drive insulin, nor does it have anything remotely to do with 'metabolic syndrome(what does that even mean, anyway?. If you lift heavy weights or did anything at all (other than.. let me guess... Jogging...) you would get that Sugars, specifically those that turn into Glucose to restore spent muscle energies, are not optional but are a requirement for growth and fat loss. Kashai cereals are alright; organic wheat cereals are the best nutrient-wise, Kashai mostly lacks anything of value but is very high in plant toc's and fiber. It's psychos like this who tell people to toss their egg yolks as nutritionally deficient... meanwhile paring the yolk with the white is one of the better amino acid combos you could get.... i could go on about idiots like this but the bottom line that we all know is: Coco-Puffs bad.

Posted by: FrederalXpress | October 2, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Sugar does not cause hyper activity. This was first pointed out to me by my Kindergarten teaching mother in law. I doubted her, because its "common knowledge". However a couple months later live science posted an article about a study that showed, there was only a strong correlation when the adult in charge had expectations of hyper activity.
Im certain sugar doesnt make kids hyper because it doesnt make adults hyper. I think the kids just get excited when they get treats...

Posted by: Smarter than you | October 2, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Sugar may not cause hyper activity, but beer causes pointless posts

Posted by: IPA | October 2, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

If beer was OK for colonial patriots it's fine for little wussy soccer-playing, bike elmet-wearing, buttwipes now.

Posted by: 2 if by sea | October 2, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those of you who ask, "How do kids get foods that aren't good for them if the parents aren't buying them?" You shop, you decide. If you aren't smart enough to be boss of your own grocery cart, you aren't smart enough to have kids. I made homemade breakfasts for my kids 6 days a week and with a little planning ahead, it actually takes not much longer than cereal. I don't do well at thinking in the morning so I had a meal for each day of the week, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, eggs, and waffles (I made up big batches and made my own 'Eggos.' Saturday was cereal day because they ate in front of the Saturday morning cartoons. Sunday was cook's choice day and we had fabulous brunches with entree, fruit, meat, bread and milk. The kids did not need to eat everything on their plates ever but they had to eat a PORTION of everything on their plates. In other words, they couldn't eat only homemade caramel rolls and the omlette. They had to eat some of the fruit and meat also, and then they could have more of what they really wanted if they still wanted it. And they never got to drink water, juice or pop only for a meal. They had to drink at least one age appropriate serving of milk first, and then they could have water or juice. Pop was only on Saturday night (one day a week to kick back and loosen the rules a bit made the rest of the week much easier to get through). Kids need milk. They do not need pop. They need water, also, and that is what they drank between meals. I put a Coleman jug of water on the porch with paper cups and they could drink all they wanted, and they often drank a half-gallon of water between the three of them during playing out of doors. I had a gallon sun tea jug of water in the fridge so they could get their own water in the house at any time. Make it easy to do the right thing and they will do it. Kids actually crave what is good for them, you just need to teach them to listen to the craving instead of silencing it with sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Don't poison your kids, love them enough to teach them to eat healthily.

Posted by: JayPea | October 2, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Cascadian Farms' Clifford Crunch (as in Clifford the Big Red Dog) should have been rated "very good". 1 cup has 100 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 25% of iron, with only 6 grams of sugar (the same amount as 1/2 cup of skim milk), and only 160 mg of sodium.

Posted by: AirJudden | October 2, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Why do people feed this toxic waste to their children then complain about what is in it?

A diet of primarily fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables is best. Supplement that with a few other things (low fat milk for children is good, maybe some whole grains for those not allergic... etc.) but don't feed your children or yourself that processed, boxed waste product.

Posted by: Trever | October 3, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Reading all this made me hungry! As a kid from the 50's & 60's, I grew up on most of these cereals. Thank God I have Honey Smacks & Corn Pops in my cupboard right now.

Corn Pops. hummph. You tree hugging sugar-freaks even made the nice folks at Kelloggs change the name from Sugar Pops to Corn Pops. Not nearly as much fun to say, now is it?

A lifetime of celery stalks for breakfast to you, diet gurus!

Posted by: Chicago | October 3, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

First of all, who pours only the suggested serving size? A ½ cup of cereal is not enough to fill up any kid until lunch. I have never once in my entire life ever even poured a ½ cup of cereal, not even to physically see how little there is. Everyone I have ever known pours a bowl full, and then tops it off with whatever milk their household drinks. How can anyone possibly put together the facts on this, with all the different bowl sizes and milk combinations available in the world? They can't.

Not everyone has the time to make a "traditional" breakfast for their kids. When I grew up my dad worked, and mom was home. Life isn't that way these days. Cereals are a quick easy meal in the morning, just pick the right ones. It's that simple. Do you let your kids grab a slice of cake and a Classic Coke in the morning? No. If you do, then you have no place whining here. Same goes for cereals. You don't even have to look at the boxes. You KNOW which ones are good for your kids. They are the ones that kids complain about being "plain," or not having the little marshmallows in it.

It seems to me that the world is full of whiny little babies these days, pointing fingers and placing blame. Just control your own kids, and stop worrying about other people. If there are only a few healthy choices for kids to choose from in the morning, or just go hungry, chances are they will eat what you have.

Posted by: PA in SD | October 3, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The report goes on to reveal that 58% of cereal that is marketed to children is consumed by people over 18.

Adults need to start eating better and living more active lifestyles because children are going to follow the example we set.

The cereal giants spend hundreds of millions of dollars advertising sugary cereal to children. Too bad some of that cannot go toward creating healthy cereals that also taste good.

adam sirois
[me] & goji, founder
custom artisanal cereal

Posted by: Adam Sirois | October 3, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand this...I ate all those cereals. I chuckled every time I poured servings much more than the suggested size. I also played video games and computer games and I was also a state qualified track runner all through high school(as well as other 'team' sports). I know this article isn't explicitly about obesity but I think the key is to get us our and our children off our collective butts and move.

Posted by: Annoyed | October 3, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked!!

Does this mean that years ago, when Super Sugar Crisp and Sugar Pops were renamed Honey Smacks and Golden Pops the sugar was not replaced with honey and gold?

Why...that's downright misleading!

Posted by: Mike | October 3, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I know no one is going to read this since it is so far on the comments but...

Yes I am aware that many kids are obese and are doing ridiculous things such as eating candy and soda and fast food all day every day. And to this, I say that's shame on the parents.

But to everyone else that is saying "no cereal" "when I was a kids, I hate (insert bad tasting/healthy alternative here)", I think people should remember that is possible for kids to eat these cereals, eat some junk food, and have fast food and still not be overweight.

I just think that the kids should learn that fruits, vegetables, and other healthier alternatives are good tasting and are better for them. They just should have a taste for both foods and know when it is appropriate to have either.

Posted by: James | October 3, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Its scary i see so many people saying "Sugar isn't bad" "we need sugar"

Well the sugar in the cereal isn't that good in big amounts (the amounts the kids tend to eat anyways)

Too much can lead to diabetes, theres other ways to get engery for the day than 2 big bowls of sugary wonder diabetes have gone up in children. the parents believe sugar is needed!

Posted by: DB | October 4, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Wake up. Sugar is carbohydrate, Wheat is carbohydrate. Body treats all carbs the same. The cereal is basically all carbohydrate. Americans eat too many carbohydrates. The last 200 years we've seen an influx of guess what, carbohydrates. We did not evolve eating carbohydrates, thus carbohydrates will cause a disease state. Fruit, bread, pasta, rice, sugar are all carbohydrate. Again, the body treats all carbs the same. At least fruit contained vit. and minerals. Cereal, bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes are bad for you. Wake up.

Posted by: Roberto | October 4, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Sugar is broken down and burned for fast energy since the molecule is easier to break(with the enzymes in your digestive system) down than a starch. It's not that bad since kids will burn off the energy any ways at some point.

Just eat whatever cereal you want for breakfast and brush your teeth afterwards.

And yes, cereal, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are just carbohydrates, doesn't mean they are bad for you; At least fruit contained vit. and minerals. Cereal, bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes are bad for you" (Roberto).

Not true at all. Your body first burns carbohydrates, and then the fat on your body. Carbohydrates not burned in the reactions in your body becomes that fat.

Sugar is the least complex molecular carbohydrate.

Just look it up in a simple 9th grade biology book. You guys don't even take a chance to see how your body works and how it uses the nutrients you consume and when.

As for me, I think that it does not matter which cereal you eat. Be happy you make the better decision of cereal than doughnuts.

Breakfast is the most important meal, dinner the least. You burn more energy during the time before dinner when you do physical activity because most people do very little physical activity after dinner (most usually). Then your body wouldn't burn off the extra carbohydrates (mostly sugar you seem to point fingers at) you consume.

Have fun eating your sugary cereal!

Posted by: RandomLifeGirl | October 5, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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