Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal contains how much added sugar by weight?
Answer: Sorry, trick question. The correct answer is ‘none of the above’, because Honey Smacks is actually more than 50% added sugar by weight.
Now, you’d probably expect that from a cereal with the somewhat misleading word ‘Honey’ in its name. (Remember when they used to be called ‘Sugar Smacks’? Ah, for those simpler, more bluntly marketed times of yore…) But Honey Smacks is far from alone in turning breakfast into dessert.
In a study recently released by the Environmental Working Group, two-thirds of the 84 popular cereal brands surveyed exceeded federal guidelines for sugar content. And that includes 25 cereals manufactured by General Mills, which, you may recall, was a “Premier Sponsor” of the recent annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association.
Absolutely unsurprisingly, cereal manufacturers are fighting the federal guidelines–which are voluntary, by the way–tooth and nail. I don’t have a quote from the manufacturers to give you, but if I did it would no doubt run along the lines of cursing the socialist nanny state the U.S. has become,
and reasserting the God-given right of American parents to turn their children into diabetics before they are old enough to vote. (Cue the flags.)
Yes, parents can certainly read the nutrition facts printed on the cereal box and make intelligent nutrition choices, but wouldn’t it be better if they didn’t have to wade through a minefield of unhealthy choices (masterfully marketed to their kids) in the first place? The sad fact is that cereals such as these are mainstays in the diet of many American school kids, and in many areas of the country it’s not easy to find healthy alternatives.
Unfortunately, the Environmental Working Group didn’t include a list of low-sugar cereals, which would be a helpful aid to harried and hurried parents at the market. I’ll try to dig one up and report back.
Do you have a healthy cereal alternative you’d like to recommend?