According to an investigation conducted by Choice, most breakfast cereals aimed at children contain too much salt or sugar — or both — to be a healthy everyday meal option.
The consumer watchdog examined 154 processed cereals and found that more than half had high levels of sugar and many contained immoderate amounts of salt.
Of these, Choice identified about 40 brands as being marketed to child consumers and reported that these were among the worst for excessive sugar and salt levels.
The investigation found that only two of the cereals aimed at children were suitable for everyday eating — Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids and Uncle Tobys Vita-brits Weeties.
Only one of the top-selling cereals made it to the consumer watchdog’s healthiest cereals list — Sanitarium’s Weet-Bix.
However the Kellogg’s took a hammering with several proving to have too much sugar and salt.
However, Kellogg’s spokeswoman Rebecca Boustead said sugar amounts in breakfast cereals were comparable to other morning meal options.
“The amount of sugar in Coco Pops and in Nutri-Grain is the same as two slices of toast and jam,” she said.
She pointed to other studies that found that children who eat breakfast cereal have a diet that is lower in fat and salt than children who eat other foods for breakfast.
Choice also put to the test how realistic manufacturers’ recommended serving sizes on cereal boxes are.
They found that, on average, men pour about 49 per cent more than the recommended serving size on the packet, and women, on average, poured about 26 per cent more.
Zinn said the results raised questions about the accuracy of nutritional information based on serving sizes.
Some of Choice’s results in breakfast cereals:
Sanitarium Weet-Bix – Choice says this is one of the best cereals.
Uncle Tobys Plus – This range is mostly borderline for salt but some of the sugar comes from fruit.
The Kellogg’s range took a hammering from Choice with the following results:
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain – Among the worst nutritionally, low in fibre and with too much sugar and salt.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – Low in fibre and too much salt.
Kellogg’s Sultana Bran – High in fibre and while it contains 23% sugar, the bulk of this comes from sultanas.
Kellogg’s Just Right Original – Moderate fibre but high in salt.
Kellogg’s Coco Pops – Nutritionally poor, low in dietary fibre and 37% sugar; borderline for salt.
Kellogg’s Special K – Borderline for sugar and salt, too little fibre.
Kellogg’s All Bran – Very high in dietary fibre; 16% sugar.
Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes – Modest fibre and 32% sugar.