Cereal offenders

Several leading breakfast cereals that are popular with children, are loaded with high levels of sugar and salt, according to a new report.

The study, for family lobby group The Parents Jury, says that families risk being fooled by some brands highlighting supposed nutritional benefits.

Products with bad fibre, fat, sugar and salt levels tend to carry the longest list of added vitamins and minerals on labels, the study found.

The study compared marketing slogans for 14 cereals, against actual nutritional value and ingredients.

Nutri-Grain, Milo and Cocoa Bombs were accused of hype that failed to match reality.

Weet-Bix Kids, however, got full marks for living up to its health claims.

The review revealed some cereals are 30% sugar — more than is found in icing-coated doughnuts.

Others have “pathetic” amounts of fibre, and up to twice the sodium content of toasted corn chips.

Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton warned that cereals with too much sugar and salt were giving children an early sweet tooth, and helping create a time bomb for high blood pressure later in life.

The Parents Jury is pushing for mandatory ‘traffic light’ packaged food labels with red, amber and green codes for fat, sugar and sodium levels.

Kellogg’s spokeswoman, Rebecca Boustead, called the the study irresponsible.

“Our research shows kids are going to school skipping breakfast and with maybe a can of soft drink in their belly. It’s irresponsible to compare cereals with doughnuts and chips, which have no nutritional value,” she said.

— FoodWeek

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