Shocking levels of sugar found in breakfast cereals

Children's cereal
Children's cereal

Some breakfast cereals contain shocking amounts of sugar - making up to a THIRD of the ingredients in some brands, reveals new research.

The amounts are of "major concern," according to campaigners, with a typical bowl containing a third of a six-year-old's maximum daily recommendation of five teaspoons of sugar.

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut was the worst offender, with an alarming 35 per cent being just sugar.

ASDA Honey Nut Corn Flakes had the next highest sugar content (32 per cent), followed by Morrisons Honey & Nut Corn Flakes (30.4 per cent).

The report, by Action on Sugar and Consensus Action on Salt and Health, showed "crunchy nut style" cereals had the most sugar.

Campaigners say salt in popular breakfast cereals has reduced by about half during the past decade owing to a successful government programme that has targeted it.

But sugar, in stark contrast, has remained high in the same products since 1992 despite calls for manufacturers to adapt to a similar scheme.

The report said this would reduce sugar consumption across the whole population and help to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

Action on Sugar nutritionist Kawther Hashem, of Queen Mary University of London, said: "Breakfast cereals can be a healthy choice as they contain fibre and are fortified with vitamins.

"However, our study shows the sugars content in breakfast cereals has been steadily high since 1992, despite the ever increasing evidence linking sugars with dental caries, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

"There has been no national sugar programme, as there has been for salt, which is imperative if we want to se real and measurable improvements."

Cereals lower in sugar include Lidl Crownfield Corn Flakes Honey & Peanuts (25%), Aldi Harvest Morn Crunchy Hopney Nut Corn Flakes (28%) and Sainsbury's Honey Nut Corn Flakes (28.3%).

Ms Hashem said: "The variation in sugar content between similar products clearly demonstrates there is no technical reason whatsoever why cereals contain such high levels of sugar.

"Public Health England is due to announce a major national sugar reduction programme, as part of the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan, in March. All manufacturers must support the programme and start reducing sugar now."

The findings, published by the journal Public Health Nutrition, show salt in cereals has been cut by about 50 per cent since 2005 and it is vital the Government also revive this programme to stop unnecessary heart attacks and stroke.

CASH chair Professor Graham MacGregor said: "Manufacturers should be congratulated for making significant reductions to the salt levels, thanks to a structured salt reduction programme.

"However, further reductions are needed as cereals remain far too high in salt, and are still a major contributor to salt intake.

"Reducing salt is the most cost effective measure to lower blood pressure and reduce the number of people suffering from strokes and heart disease, one of the commonest causes of death in the UK."

The study investigated the salt and sugar contained in breakfast cereals sold in the UK between 1992 and 2015."