Gill Stannard

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nasty surprises in the snap, crackle and pop

Leading consumer group Choice has found the majority of cereals on the Australian market have too much sugar and/or salt. Of the products aimed at children, only 2 out of 40 had acceptable levels. The “winners” were weet-bix and vita-brits.

But there is a problem that seems to get overlooked in these surveys, how many children don’t add sweetener to these rather unpalatable products? While the lumps of highly processed wheat meet the acceptable nutrient levels, it is a rare child who eats them without a load of sugar. Why? Because they taste like lumps of highly processed wheat! Remember also that even if you have an exceptional child who forgoes the sugar, that the nutritional analysis is based on a standard serve. If they load up the bowl, like the role model sportsmen spruiking the cereal do, then they could also be reaching unacceptable levels of sugar and salt.

Take home message:
Almost all breakfast cereals marketed at children have unacceptable levels of sugar and/or salt.

It you do buy the “healthier” options, do not add sugar, just some fresh fruit for sweetness and flavour.

A healthier winter breakfast is porridge cooked with sultanas and banana.

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