Ten Worst Breakfast Cereals

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New research
confirms what consumers have long known – most breakfast cereals
advertised to children are full of sugar.

Cereals marketed
to kids have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60
percent more sodium than those aimed at adults. In fact, the least
nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children,
such as Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch
and Cap’n Crunch.

Some cereals
with the poorest ratings even have health claims on the box.

San Francisco
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has written a letter to the CEO of
Kellogg’s, demanding evidence that Cocoa Krispies really "helps
support your child’s immunity" as it purports to do on the
front of the box.

Cocoa Krispies
are 40 percent sugar by weight. A Kellogg’s company spokesperson,
Susanne Norwitz, argued that Kellogg’s Krispies cereals provide
consumers with 25 percent of their daily value of vitamins A, C,
and E.

Kellogg began
making the immunity claims about Cocoa Krispies in May, however
as of November 4 said they’re pulling the claim from the box.

Meanwhile,
the average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads a year on TV. Most are
for types with the worst nutrition ratings.

According to
Cereal FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score), which
was developed based on the best available science, in consultation
with a steering committee of experts in nutrition, marketing, and
public health, the 10 worst breakfast cereals based on nutrition
score are:

1. Kellogg
– Corn Pops (or Pops) – Chocolate Peanut Butter
2. Quaker – Cap’n Crunch – w/ Crunchberries
3. Kellogg – Special K – Chocolatey Delight
4. Kellogg – Special K – Blueberry
5. General Mills – Reese’s Puffs
6. General Mills – Fiber One – Caramel Delight
7. Kellogg – Cocoa Krispies – Choconilla
8. General Mills – Golden Grahams
9. General Mills – Cinnamon Toast Crunch
10. Kellogg – Corn Pops

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

How can Kellogg’s
Cocoa Krispies, which is one of the 10 worst breakfast cereals out
there, get away with putting a giant slogan across the front of
their cereal boxes claiming this sugar-laden nutritional disaster
will help support your child’s immunity?

The cereal
is 40 percent sugar by weight … and sugar can suppress your
immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.

Telling parents
that they are doing their child’s health a favor by allowing
them to eat this, or practically any children’s cereal, is
akin to letting them sit down to a plate full of Twinkies and Oreos
and calling it a balanced meal.

Fortunately,
Kellogg has been receiving criticism from parent groups and nutritionists
alike ever since it launched the far-fetched claim, and as of November
4 said they are pulling it from their cereal boxes.

Kellogg was
criticized for playing up the cereal’s imaginary immunity benefits
in response to the H1N1 flu craze, which the company denied.

Yet, rather
than admitting the claim was way beyond a stretch of the truth,
Kellogg has said it’s pulling the claim “given the public
attention on H1N1.”

But immunity
claims or not, if you really want to look out for your child, one
of the first steps would be to immediately get rid of any cereal,
particularly if it has a cartoon character on the box, as children’s
cereals are notoriously bad for children’s health.

Children’s
Cereals Are Nutritional Disasters

Breakfast
cereals, which were initially developed to increase convenience,
have mostly morphed into nothing more than highly processed sweetened
grains sprinkled with synthetic vitamins. They are a mere fantasy
of a healthy food, and I don’t recommend you eat any
cereal for breakfast on a regular basis – including those that
are marketed as healthy fiber sources!

But you should
know, whether you have children or you secretly keep a stash of
Cap’n Crunch in your pantry, that cereals that are aggressively
marketed to kids have the worst nutritional quality of all cereals,
according to an analysis of 161 brands conducted last year.

The analysis,
published in the Journal
of American Dietetic Association
, found that children’s
cereals have more sugar, sodium, carbohydrates, and calories per
gram than cereals not marketed to kids. They also have less protein
and fiber.

On average,
sugar accounts for more than one-third of the weight of children's
cereals compared to less than one-quarter of adult cereals.

But parents
continue to shell out for these nutritional disasters because the
food industry spends about $229 million annually advertising them
to children. Colorful cartoons and other cheery tricks stimulate
your child into wanting these “fun” foods, but the damage
they can do to your child’s health is no laughing matter.

In the last
two decades, the prevalence of overweight adolescents has nearly
tripled, and current statistics show 16
percent of children are overweight or obese
. An excess of sugar
and carbohydrates are two culprits contributing to this growing
problem.

Cereal Is
Not a Healthy Breakfast

According
to the analysis of 161 cereal brands noted above, one serving of
cereal equated to 11 percent of the daily limit of added sugar for
active boys, aged 14 to 18 years old, and an astounding 92 percent
of the daily sugar intake for sedentary girls aged 9 to 13.

The problem
with feeding your child foods high in added sugar is twofold –
they contain little in terms of vitamins and minerals, and the calories
they contain are not made up of important micronutrients needed
for health and growth.

Reducing sugar
intake should be on the top of your list regardless of whether your
child is currently overweight or not, because it’s been proven
over and over that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead
to:

  • High blood
    pressure and high cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Weight
    gain
  • Premature
    aging, and more

In fact, sugar
is bad for your health in so many ways, I’ve compiled an entire
list outlining 76
Ways in Which Sugar Can Damage Your Health!

But even if
you’re not eating a children’s cereal – let’s
say you’re eating a more “adult” oriented cereal
that’s high in fiber and low in sugar – it is still
not a healthy breakfast choice.

Why?

Because cereal
is mostly grain, and grains rapidly break down to sugar in your
body, stimulating insulin production. So, if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Have high
    cholesterol
  • Have high
    blood pressure
  • Have diabetes

… then you
are best served avoiding cereal for breakfast.

If your nutritional
type is carbohydrate oriented and you don’t have any of the
above problems, then grains are a possible option for you. But,
rest assured, if you indulge in grains to excess you are heading
for one of the above diseases.

Further, to
keep your energy up and feel satisfied, you should really strive
to include a healthy source of protein and fat, according to your
nutritional
type
, with your breakfast.

That is really
what my nutrition plan is all about – AVOIDING grains, such
as bagels, cereal and pancakes, and replacing them with high-quality
proteins (such as eggs), healthy fats (INCLUDING saturated fat)
and low-glycemic complex carbs, mostly from veggies.

What Is
a Healthier Breakfast Option for Kids (and for You)?

It is very
important that you start your day off with a healthy breakfast,
as studies have shown that eating breakfast can have beneficial
effects on:

  • Appetite
  • Insulin
    resistance
  • Energy
    metabolism

One study
even found that obesity and insulin resistance syndrome rates were
35 percent to 50 percent lower among people who ate breakfast every
day, compared to those who frequently skipped it.

But there’s
more to it than simply not skipping the meal. You need to give your
body high-quality fuel to run off of for the day. And sugary breakfast
cereals do not qualify.

So what is
an example of a healthy breakfast that will keep you feeling energized
and at the top of your game for hours?

My primary
recommendation for Carb
and Mixed nutritional types
is to prepare and consume fresh
vegetable juice
, making sure to also eat the pulp. (It’s
loaded with so many valuable phytonutrients, it would be unwise
to discard it.)

Veggie juice
is a really simple breakfast alternative, and suitable even for
your youngest ones. If you want to add some protein and fat, try
adding some raw cream, raw kefir or a raw egg or two.

Juicing may
not be the best option for Protein types (like me), however, so
if your child is a Protein type, you’d want to limit them to
10 ounces or less of raw juice each day, and restrict the vegetables
to lower potassium varieties such as spinach and celery.

Prior to understanding
Nutritional Typing I used to juice vegetables, but now my breakfast
contains far more fat. I typically make a porridge with several
ounces of fresh raw coconut cream (which I obtain locally as it’s
not available commercially). Then I mix in 2–3 raw organic
free-range eggs, some rice bran, and some raw organic nuts, ground
organic hemp seeds and coconut milk. That typically keeps me going
strong until lunch.

So please
give some serious thoughts to what types of foods your child is
eating for breakfast. Proper childhood nutrition is so important
if you want to set the stage for lifelong health that I wrote an
entire book on the subject called Generation
XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food
World
.

It even includes
74 pages of kid-approved recipes, brimming with all-natural, healthy
choices that will satisfy even your picky eaters. So if you’re
looking for even more options to wean your kids off breakfast cereal,
this book is an excellent place to find them.

November
24, 2009

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