Cereal Killers

Cereal Killers

Most of the popular brands of cereal have more sugar than a single cupcake. Sugar-filled cereals should not be marketed to children because they cause health problems.  It is also known that these cereals have more sugar than cereal marketed for adults. Obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay are just a few effects caused by cereals promoted toward children.

Obesity is on the top of the list for children according to the Center for Disease Control. They estimated that childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last thirty years, and more children are suffering the effects adults suffered when I was a child. Such as, high blood pressure, bone and joint pain, low self-esteem, social and psychological problems. (CDC).

Diabetes is on the rise due to the intake of high volumes of cholesterol. Dr. Mercola claims that refined carbohydrates such as, processed fructose, grains, and processed food are high in sugar. They promote chronic inflammation, and elevate low density to LDL cholesterol, which ultimately leads to diabetes (Mercola).

Another factor is tooth decay. We all have heard our dentist tell us to stay away from candy, soda, and other sugary foods, because these things cause cavities.

Although cereal is not the main corporate for these types of diseases; I find it hard to digest that breakfast cereal was first intended to be a healthier alternative.  Dr. James C. Jackson advocated this first cereal, called rolled oats in 1863.  I wondered, “What could possibly be junk food in 1863?  Apparently, people ate meat three times a day, causing digestive problems, along with other health issues due to lack of certain grains, fiber, and other nutrients that make a body healthy. I believe what was intended for good is now one of the worst foods ever.

In this fast pace world we live in, we find it easier to serve our children a bowl of cereal for breakfast, so we can make it to school and work on time. Some parents find it easier to send their children to the breakfast cafeteria, rather than make a healthy meal.  The makers of these cereal killers know it, and they are deliberately poisoning our children.

According to Environmental Working Group, 181 cereals are marketed toward children and have more sugar than adult cereals. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks has nearly 56% sugar by weight, and leads the list of high sugar cereal.  General Mills produces six of the worst cereals advertised towards children, and they have 85% more sugar, 60% more sodium, and 65% less fiber. They also claim breakfast cereal has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy Cookies!

Here are just a few:  Reese’s Puffs, Corn Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops, and Honey Nut Cheerios.  My favorites and my grandchildren’s are in this list as well. In fact, most of these cereals were in my cupboard until now, and I even went a little further and tossed those instant oatmeal packages that are already pre-sweetened.

While researching cereal, I imagine little cereal characters as little demons diving into a bowl of cereal, and they cause all sorts of health issues. This is what will definitely keep me from purchasing those cereals from now on.  What I believed to be true about food was never really an issue to me.  Now that I am older, I am paying the consequences for my poor eating habits. This new revelation on you are what you eat has given me a new light on what I now feed my grandchildren.

Alice Walton the author of All Sugared Up writes “On average children’s cereal contain 40% more sugar than adult cereal, and are prone to extreme sweetening” (Walton).  I am curious if the makers of these cereals feed this to their own children?

I searched the FDA on recommended amounts of sugar added to cereal for children over the age of 4 and found the reference amount for ready to serve of 110 g. (CRF title 21, table 1). Whatever that means.  They also noted that manufactures are required to convert the reference amount to the label serving size (3).  On a box of my longtime favorite cereal, Lucky Charms, it showed the amount of sugar weighed by once.  If one serving is 11g, and most people double that, they would be getting 22g.  Not to mention the rest of the daily sugar intake that is in breads, soda, and everything that has been preserved with sugar, like noncariogenic carbohydrate sweeteners.

On the other hand, there are many healthy cereals for children.  Oatmeal with fresh fruit, gluten free or organic cereals are highly recommended by nutritionists, and they recommend cereal that has no more than 4 grams of sugar per serving.  MaryAnn Jacobson is a registered dietitian, and she compiled a list of the 10 best cereals for children on her blog.  They may cost more, but your body will start feeling better (Jacobson, 2015).

I will be looking more closely to labels on the box of cereal rather than the picture. Another catcher are the low cost cereals that are on the end isle.  Remember, those cereals were on the worst cereal list, and $1.99 is actually a hefty amount you will pay later when your children’s health declines due to too much sugar that is added to those cereals.  I hate to shout conspiracy, conspiracy, but the facts are clear; I will not be putting them on my shelves any longer.  This is lesson for me to stop, read, and pay attention to what I am putting in my body, and what I am serving those I love most.

Works Cited:

181 cereals are marketed toward children, and have more sugar. N.p.: Environmental Working Group, n.d. Print.

 All Sugared Up: The Best and Worst Breakfest Cereals for kids. N.p.: Forbes, 2015. Web.

Jacobsen, MaryAnn. 10 Best Cereals for Kids. N.p.: n.p., 2010. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.

Mercola, . Cereal Killers. N.p.: n.p., 2014. Print.

Nage, Ramiel Nagel. Breakfest Cereal Causes Tooth cavities in children and babies. N.p.: n.p., 2010. Print. Walton, Alice. Obesity facts adolescent and school health. N.p.: CDC, n.d. Print

Walton, Alice. All Sugared Up: The Best and Worst Breakfest Cereals for kids. N.p.: Forbes, 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2015. Works Cited