Kids Not Stuck on Sugary Cereal

Kids offered low-sugar cereal are more likely to eat a nutritionally balanced breakfast even if they’re allowed to sprinkle on some table sugar, according to a study published online by the journal Pediatrics.

The study, which will be published in the journal’s January 2011 issue, divided 91 summer camp kids ages 5-12 into two groups. One group was offered their choice of three low-sugar cereals, Cheerios, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies. The other group was offered less healthy cereals loaded with sugar: Cocoa Pebbles, Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes.

All the kids were allowed to add low-fat milk, orange juice, bananas, strawberries and extra sugar. Children in both groups consumed about the same amount of calories. Those in the low-sugar cereal group ate more fruit and drank more orange juice, giving them a more balanced breakfast. The kids in the high-sugar group ate less fruit and drank less orange juice, but consumed nearly twice as much sugar.

Some parents buy high-sugar cereals out of a concern that their children otherwise will refuse to eat cereal for breakfast. But some 90% of the children in both groups "liked" or "loved" one of their cereal choices.

"Compared with serving low-sugar cereals, high-sugar cereals increase children’s total sugar consumption and reduce the overall nutritional quality of their breakfast. Children will consume low-sugar cereals when offered, and they provide a superior breakfast option," the study’s authors conclude.

Other low-sugar cereals recommended in a 2008 Consumer Reports study include Kix, Life and Honey Nut Cheerios.

Categories: FYI