Sunday, July 23, 2006


Or so food-faddist logic would say. Report from Britain below:

Many popular breakfast cereals contain as much salt and sugar as a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar, according to new research. There is even one brand with as much fat as in a packet of thick pork sausages. Parents will be shocked by the latest findings from the consumer organisation Which? as most believe a bowl of cereal is a healthy start to their children's day.

Despite claims by manufacturers that they have cut down on salt and sugar in cereals the watchdog scrutinised 275 brands and found that an overwhelming majority, some 76 per cent, had high levels of sugar, a fifth had high levels of salt and seven per cent contained saturated fat. The probe also found that of the 52 cereals marketed specifically for children some 88 per cent were high in sugar, 13 per cent high in salt and 10 per cent high in saturated fat.

The three overall worst offenders for children were Quaker Oatso Simple Kids (any flavour), Kellogg's Coco Pops Straws and Mornflake Pecan and Maple Crisp. These get red alerts for sugar and saturated fat. Kellogg's Coco Pop Straws contained the same amount of sugar as a two finger Kit Kat which has 34g sugar per 100g.

Which? is now calling on manufacturers to do more to reduce levels of these nutrients particularly in products appealing to children. It is also pressing firms to adopt the red, amber and green labels on front of packs so that shoppers find it easier to pick out the healthier products.

So far Tesco and leading manufacturers Nestle, PepsiCo, Kraft, Kellogg and Danone, have refused to endorse these red junk food labels on food advocated by the Food Standards Agency and instead prefer a complicated system of guidance daily amounts on packs.

Researchers at Which? worked out the colour coded alerts that should be included on front of pack traffic light labels for each product. The five worst offenders for sugar contained 10 or more teaspoons per 100g and three are aimed at children - Asda Golden Puffs, Sainsbury's Golden Puffs and Kellogg's Ricicles. The other two are Morrissons Golden Puffs and Tesco Golden Honey Puffs. A teaspoon of sugar is equivalent of 4gs sugar. Four of the five products contained more sugar per 100g than a Toffee Crisp which has 47.9g sugar. The highest were the Asda and Morrissons Golden Puffs with 55g sugar per 100g. Another nine cereals contained more than four teaspoons of sugar per suggested portion of which several were mueslis where the sugar came from dried fruit. Only 13 per cent of all products would have scored a green light label for sugar content.

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