When it comes to cereal choices for kids, we might as well be feeding them dessert.
The Environmental Working Group, a public health nonprofit organization, reviewed the nutrition labels of more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to kids. Cereals with cartoon characters on the box were found to have the most added sugar. In fact, two thirds of the products analyzed by the EWG contained more than a third of the sugar kids should consume in an entire day in just one serving. The average serving packed about as much sugar as three Chips Ahoy! cookies, according to the EWG.
All that sugar first thing in the morning is likely to just leave you hungry again as soon as your blood sugar levels crash. Unsurprisingly, cereals with more fiber -- at least 3 or 4 grams per serving -- can keep you full for longer, as can other breakfast options higher in protein.
Despite careful label reading, dubious health claims on those sugary breakfast picks may be misleading. Many of the sweetest offenders promote whole-grain, fiber and vitamin content prominently on packaging, "making it less likely that consumers will focus on the unhealthy sugar content," according to the EWG report.
Below are the most sugary cereals by percent sugar by weight among national brands. (Local store brands like Food Lion Sugar Frosted Wheat Puffs, Krasdale Fruity Circles, Safety Kitchens Silly Circles and Food Club Honey Puffed Wheat also ranked among the most sugary cereals.)
For the full report, as well as some of the least sugary cereals, head over to the EWG.