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According to Consumer Reports, some breakfast cereals marketed in the US are more than 50% sugar weight, while many of them get only fair scores on nutritional value. The group evaluated 27 of the breakfast cereals that are most heavily marketed to children, considering not just their sugar content, but also the amount of sodium, fiber, calories, and nutrients in a recommended serving.

The study found two cereals – Post Golden Crisp and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks – are more than 50 percent sugar and nine are at least 40 percent sugar, equaling the amount of sugar in a glazed doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts.

“Parents who would never give their children doughnuts for breakfast may be choosing these cereals without knowing that from a nutritional standpoint they really aren’t much better,” said Gayle Williams of Consumer Reports Health .

Consumer Reports listed the cereals in three categories. The first category includes those cereals, which were rated as very good mainly because they were relatively low in sugar and sodium, had some fiber, were high in iron, and were good sources of calcium. They are as follows: Cheerios (General Mills), Kix (General Mills), Life (Quaker Oats) and Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills). These cereals represent a good breakfast choice.

The second category includes cereals rated as good: Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size (Kellogg’s), Frosted Flakes Gold (Kelloggs), Cookie Crisp (General Mills), Golden Grahams Honey Graham (General Mills), Lucky Charms (General Mills), Cocoa Puffs (general Mills), Cinnamon Toast Crunch (general Mills), Trix (General Mills), Reese’s Puffs (General Mills), Fruity Pebbles (Post), Honey-Comb (Post), Cocoa Pebbles (Post), Frosted Flakes (Kellogg’s), Cocoa Krispies (Kellogg’s) and Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar (Kellogg’s). Referring to this category, the investigators noted that there was room for improvement in sugar and/or fiber content for most.

The other eight of the 27 rated cereals were rated as “fair” choices, the lowest rating given by Consumer Reports. Most of them were high in sugar and low in fiber. The category includes: Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter (Quaker Oats), Cap’n Crunch (Quaker Oats), Rice Krispies (Kellogg’s), Apple Jacks (Kellogg’s), Froot Loops (Kellogg’s), Golden Crisp (Post), Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s) and Corn Pops (Kellogg’s).

With new labeling laws going into effect this week (country of origin of fruits and meats), this study highlights the importance of reading labels.

"If you’re shopping for a kids’ cereal, try one of the Very Good cereals in our Ratings," says Williams. "Be sure to read the product labels, and choose cereals that are high in fiber and low in sugar and sodium. Served with milk and fruit, these cereals can be part of a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast."

For more information about food safety litigation, contact the Smith & Vanture firm.

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