London: Children’s breakfast cereals contain far too much sugar and are as bad as chocolate biscuits, researchers have warned.
A study from consumer group Which? found that twelve of 14 varieties targeted at youngsters have high sugar levels, the Daily Mail reported.
Kellogg’s Frosties was the worst offender, containing 37 per cent sugar, followed by own-brand supermarkets’ chocolate puffed rice.
Kellogg’s Coco Pops, Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and Sugar Puffs were also in the top five sweetest brands.
Of 50 cereals overall, 32 were too high in sugar – even those advertised as healthy options, such as All-Bran Bran Flakes and Special K, both from Kellogg’s.
The findings come despite repeated warnings of high sugar content in cereals and highlighted in reports in 2006 and 2009.
Last year Kellogg’s said it would reduce the amount in its varieties by 15 per cent.
But Which? says most cereals still contain far too much sugar and “many would be more at home in the chocolate biscuit aisle”.
It is calling on retailers and manufacturers to provide a wider choice of healthier options and to label packaging more clearly.
While sugar remained high, salt content had reduced across most varieties. But eight cereals still had such high levels that they failed to meet salt targets.
Overall, Nestle’s Shredded Wheat was found to be the healthiest cereal, with low levels of sugar, fat and salt. Quaker Oat So Simple Original and Weetabix were also low in sugar.
“Once again, many top-selling breakfast cereals are too high in sugar. Parents will be particularly surprised that the majority of children’s cereals contain so much,” said Richard Lloyd, from Which?
However, Paul Wheeler, Kellogg’s head of communications, said: “People know Frosties contain sugar, that’s why they’re called Frosties.
“And, if you want a lower-sugar version of Coco Pops there is one – it’s called Rice Krispies. That’s the problem with these types of reports. They fixate on the rights or wrongs of particular products without seeing the bigger picture – that there’s a huge number of cereals people can choose from.”
Wheeler added that 2oz of Special K contained “only” two teaspoons of sugar. “That’s less than a low-fat fruit yogurt, banana or blueberry muffin,” he claimed.