Cereal sugar rush test
If you think breakfast cereal is healthy, read the fine print.
Most cereals had more than 12g of sugar per 100g serving – too much to be considered healthy.
Times read the labels on more than 50 of the popular breakfast cereals on the shelves of a major grocery chain to find out which had the most sugar. The results were surprising.
Most cereals had more than 12g of sugar per 100g serving – too much to be considered healthy. In addition, dietician Ashleigh Caradas said most cereals have a high glycaemic index, which means they release sugar into the blood stream very quickly.
“About 45 minutes after eating a sugary refined cereal a child will feel hungry and tired,” she said. Caradas said rice flakes and cornflakes were low-quality carbohydrates and the sugar into which they were metabolised passed quickly into the blood.
Research by The Times showed that the most sugary cereals were often chocolate flavoured. But Bokomo’s fruit-flavoured Weetbix Flakes Fruit had the most sugar – 45.8g per 100g of cereal.
Only plain oats and plain Weetbix had minimal sugar – between 1g and 2.5g per 100g.
To establish the sugar content of a product, check the nutritional content label and look under “total carbohydrates, of which total sugars”. The figure is given per 100g.
Dietician Robyn Rees said “many children go to school without breakfast. If they are fussy eaters, a sugary breakfast is better than none at all, but be warned that the sugar could lead to hyperactivity.”
Caradas said most cereals were unhealthy because the producers had removed much of the nutrition from the grain, and added artificial vitamins and heaps of sugar.
“If kids really want sugary cereal, allow it once a week or mix it with oats.
“A maltabela or oats porridge is good for children, or fruit, yoghurt and nuts,” she said.
“You can take a bland cereal such as bran flakes or oats and flavour it yourself with vanilla essence, cocoa, cinnamon or mashed banana and a little honey.”
The crunch: Sugar per 100 grams
Bokomo Weetbix Flakes Fruit, the fruit flavour – 45.8g
Heartland Choc Rockerz – 42.2g
Bokomo Otees Multigrain Cream Soda Float – 38.6g
Pick n Pay White Chocolate Pillows – 36.9g
Pick n Pay Choc Hazelnut Pillows – 36.9g
Kellogg’s Coco Pops – 36g
Pick n Pay Chocolate Waffles Cereal – 33.6g
Nestle Milo Choc and Vanilla Duo – 33.1g
Kellogg’s Strawberry Pops – 33g
Weigh Less Muesli – 32.4g