Whether you’re on a diet, working with a weight loss doctor or simply striving to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to be informed—especially about the foods you and your family eat. As a father, long ago, I stopped letting my kids eat cereal. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently shared a report called Children’s Cereals: Sugar by the Pound that shows why it may actually be the worst food to feed your kids. I can’t help but laugh at the fact that there’s a cereal out there that’s 88% sugar by weight.
As a weight loss doctor, I also get a kick out of the healthful claims by some of the cereals. For example, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which is 56% sugar by weight, says it’s a “Good Source of Vitamin D.” You can find other such claims in the actual PDF of the EWG’s report. Equally funny is the fact that Kellogg’s Apple Jacks with Marshmallows doesn’t even make an attempt to add any healthful claims. I think they know that the truth—and the consumer’s tolerance for BS—can only be stretched so far.
EWG’s analysis covered over 1,500 cereals, including more than 180 children’s cereals. The scariest part about the study is that it shows that a child who eats a bowl of sugary every day for a year ends up consuming 10 pounds of sugar. If you’re trying to diet, follow a weight loss management program or simply be healthy, clearly you should avoid sugary cereals.
The EWG’s report gives you some tips to help you navigate the cereal aisle to find the least sugary products, complete with a list of those that have the least and most amount of sugar. In addition, we suggest eating a healthy, low-carb breakfast that includes whole foods such as scrambled eggs and omelets with fresh vegetables, steel-cut oatmeal with berries, or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. If you’re working with a weight loss doctor or nutritional counseling center, ask them for other ideas too!