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Obesity alert: Kids consume 10 pounds of sugar a year in their breakfast cereal

Childhood obesity

(NaturalNews) A study from the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EGW) has found that the average American kid is consuming 10 pounds of sugar each year - from breakfast cereal alone.

The comprehensive analysis included an examination of 1,556 cereals, including 181 that were specifically marketed to children, according to an executive summary of the research. The analysis found that most cereals pack in so much sugar that someone eating just an average serving of a typical children's cereal would consume a 10-pound bag of sugar annually.

And despite the fact that researchers have found that children are satisfied with eating low-sugar breakfast cereals, supermarket cereal aisles typically have fewer such products for sale.

The analysis found that cereals featuring cartoon characters had the most sugar.

'We're watching our kids get heavier every year'

The executive summary further noted:

EWG also re-reviewed a smaller sample of 84 popular children's cereals that it had previously evaluated in 2011. This analysis found that while a handful of manufacturers lowered the sugar content of 11 cereals in that sample, the vast majority are still too sweet to be healthy, averaging two teaspoons per serving. One cereal added even more sugar. Not one of the 10 most sweetened cereals on EWG's 2011 list lowered its sugar content.

"We're watching our kids get heavier and heavier every year," explained Regina Kundell, a nurse practitioner with PRMC's Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. "And the health of our children is probably going to be worse than our health is."

The research team utilized EWG's comprehensive food database, which is set for release in the fall of 2014, to determine sugar content in each cereal. Rankings were calculated by comparing the total sugar content by weight with preexisting guidelines that have been determined and issued by federal health agencies and other organizations.

As noted by EWG:

Cereals can provide important nutrients that children need during critical times of growth and development - without all the added sugar. Unsweetened whole-grain hot cereals such as oatmeal with fruit on top are a much healthier choice, providing a rich source of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and no empty calories. The reality, however, is that hot cereals can be less convenient for busy families - although there are many ways to work around this - making the lack of low-sugar cold cereals all the more problematic.

The EWG said of the dozens of cereals it examined that are specifically aimed at children, the worst offender in terms of sugar content was Kellogg's Honey Smacks (which used to be called "Sugar Smacks"), which contained an astounding 56 percent sugar by weight. Also high on the list were Malt-O-Meal Golden Puffs and Food Lion Sugar Frosted Wheat Puffs.

There are better breakfast alternatives

Not only does excessive sugar - from cereal sources, no less - contribute to obesity, Kundell noted, but also other health issues and problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

There are better cereal options, the study noted, like General Mills' Cheerios and Kellogg's Rice Krispies - found to be among the lowest in sugar content - but as NaturalNews readers know, those cereals contain genetically-modified ingredients, as well as heavy metals and other contaminants.

For breakfast or anytime, the Health Ranger recommends his Organic Pancakes - Check them out at the NaturalNews store by clicking here

"Examples of healthier choices, certainly, are the cereals that have higher fiber, less sugar," Kundell noted.

What makes the issue of high sugar content in breakfast cereals particularly concerning, Kundell and other experts note, is that eating habits are learned early on, and then tend to remain with us.

"They're going to be accustomed to whatever diet they're introduced to, and they'll probably like whatever they're used to, whether it's sugary or whether it's healthy," she explained to WBOC in Salibury, Maryland.

In response to the study's findings, an official with Kellogg told the station that the company has cut sugar content in most of its popular children's cereals by as much as 20 to 30 percent over time. General Mills, meanwhile, said it has cut about 16 percent of its sugar content in cereals marketed to kids since 2007.

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