View Full Version : The great cereal scandal

28-02-2012, 08:43 AM
The great cereal scandal: One of Britain’s leading consumer experts reveals the shocking truth about sugary breakfast cereals

The food industry’s biggest con trick is one you’re probably falling for every day of the week. Even worse, the victims are your children.
Visit any supermarket and wander down the aisle of breakfast cereals. The message from the packets couldn’t be more encouraging.
This one is ‘the sunshine breakfast’. That one is made from ‘wholesome corn, oats, rice and wheat’. Pretty much all are ‘fortified with vitamins and minerals’. The contents of the attractive colourful boxes can form ‘part of a balanced diet’.

For decades, we have been sold the story that a bowl of cereal is one of the healthiest things a caring mother could feed her children every morning.
But many cereals hide a horrible secret: the large amounts of sugar the manufacturers have pumped into them.

The research group Which? recently investigated the sugar content of 50 breakfast cereals. The results should shock you.
Products we are led to believe are healthy are, in fact, laden with so much sugar they ought to be sold alongside chocolate biscuits, said Which?, not marketed as a recipe for a healthy life.

he worst offenders in the Which? report were Kellogg’s Frosties, with 37 per cent sugar; Tesco Choco Snaps, with 36 per cent; and Sugar Puffs, with 35 per cent. According to the Food Standards Agency, a sugar content above 15 per cent is considered to be high — these cereals have double this.
Perhaps it’s not such a surprise that Frosties are sugary — after all, the sugar is visible on every flake. However, even Rice Krispies contain 10 per cent sugar, while Kellogg’s Corn Flakes have 8 per cent.
Does it matter? The answer is ‘Yes’. It is now accepted scientific fact that eating too much sugar increases your chances of suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and liver problems.
A recent article in the highly respected journal Nature claimed that an excess of sugar contributes to 35 million deaths a year worldwide.
It not only makes people fat, but also changes the body’s metabolism, raises blood pressure, throws hormones off balance and harms the liver, said the authors of the report, The Toxic Truth About Sugar.
‘A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly,’ they said. They have called for sugar to be regulated like cigarettes.
The biggest risk of a high-sugar diet is obesity. This is not only because sugar is high in calories, but also because it acts like a drug on your system. Eating too much sugar leaves you craving more sugar. It becomes a vicious circle.
You’ve probably heard about the glycaemic index. This is a measure of how quickly foods release their sugars into your bloodstream.
Breakfast cereals have a high GI, which means they break down quickly during digestion and your blood sugar level surges. Then it quickly recedes — leaving you hungrier, sooner.
That’s why people who have had cereal for breakfast can feel tired and hungry by 11am and unable to hold out for lunch.
Eating a bowl of Frosties is like throwing a newspaper into a fire. Whoosh, and then you need more fuel. The problem is that once the fuel has been used up, you need something sweet. Something right now. If you’re not careful, you’re soon into a spiral of obesity.
A breakfast consisting of an unsweetened yoghurt and a handful of fruit and nuts is like putting slow-burning coal on a fire: it will sustain you for longer and you won’t crave the hit of a sugar fix.
So, if sugar is so bad for us, why do the cereal manufacturers pack their products with it?
To understand that, you need to know the economics of the industry. Breakfast cereals are a miracle of modern capitalism.
You take ultra-cheap ingredients — corn or rice, for example — put them through a simple manufacturing process and then sell them to the public at a huge mark-up. A 750g box of Kellogg’s Frosties will cost you around £2.70. The corn will have cost Kellogg’s just a few pennies.
However, there are two problems with this manufacturing process. It removes much of the nutritional benefits from the raw ingredients; and stripping grains of rice or pieces of corn, crushing them or puffing air into them leaves you with a product that is about as appealing in taste terms as eating newspaper.
This is where sugar comes in (and salt, but that’s another story). Adding it in large amounts is the only way people can be encouraged to eat the end product.

But this poses another problem for the manufacturers. How can you get away with marketing a product at children — the core customers for many breakfast cereals — if it’s packed with all this sugar? The answer is as simple as it is dishonest: bestow the cereals with the illusory gift of health.
Enter the word ‘fortified’. Emblazoned on pretty much every cereal packet, it’s a subliminal and sneaky message to the consumer. This food may taste sweet, and sweet foods may seem unhealthy — but not this one!
By adding synthetic vitamins to your flakes, krispies or loops, the manufacturer can shout about the fact that a bowl of Kellogg’s Coco Pops contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, iron and calcium, without drawing attention to the fact 35 per cent of what you are eating is sugar.
That’s around 3½ teaspoons of sugar in one 40g serving (assuming you measure out a serving, unlike most people, who pour until the bowl is full).
And if you add 125ml of semi-skimmed milk, which packs its own carbohydrate punch, that’s a total of 5¼ teaspoons of sugar in your breakfast bowl. Marketing breakfast cereals as ‘fortified with vitamins’ is not against the law.
No outright lies are being told — those vitamins are there (though all the vitamins and minerals in fortified cereals are found in greater quantities in other foods, such as eggs and meat). But they’re a smokescreen to distract attention from the real story.
Another ruse, which is used for cereals aimed at adults, is to label them as low-fat (the Special K packet declares: ‘Less than 2 per cent fat’).
Yes, cereal grains are by their very nature low in fat. But it’s another red herring to distract you from the salt and sugar content. (And anyway, contrary to what we have been led to believe, there is scant evidence to support the nutritional mantra that fat is automatically bad for you.)

So there is nothing illegal in this marketing, but in my opinion it’s dishonest. What’s worse is when manufacturers plaster packets with cartoon characters and use cuddly creatures — the Honey Monster, Tony the Tiger, the Coco Pops monkey — to appeal directly to children.
The problem is that most of us don’t understand the nutritional information on food packets. I have been a food investigative journalist for more than 20 years and it took me a while to get the hang of it.
When it comes to sugar, the key is to ignore the ‘per serving’ figure — the food company’s bowl size probably will not equate to your children’s portion — and look instead at the table marked ‘typical values per 100g’.
Then look down to the figure next to ‘sugars’. More than 15 per cent is deemed to be a high-sugar product — even Special K, which claims on its website ‘you can be sure you are helping yourself look good and feel special’ consists of 17 per cent sugar.
What should be done to end the scandal of sugary cereals? I think the Government should impose a sugar tax to discourage firms from lacing their products with the stuff.
But it would take a very brave government to pick a fight with the corporations that have built such lucrative businesses on the back of our addiction to sugar.
So, if you care about your children’s health, you need to serve them something else for breakfast. I never gave my children sugary breakfast cereals: they had Weetabix served with a spoonful of fruit.
Other healthy starts to the day include a poached, boiled or sometimes fried egg, which provides every major vitamin you need apart from vitamin C; porridge, which is delicious and healthy; or a slice or two of wholemeal toast plus unsweetened yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and a handful of nuts.
Now grown up, my daughters won’t touch foods that are packed with sugar — they find snacks and treats such as cupcakes to be too sickeningly sweet for their liking.
Thanks to a healthier breakfast, you can put your new-found energy to good use.
Read nutritional labels and learn how to understand them. And then get angry about the great cereal swindle

We asked Jacqui Lowdon, of the British Dietetic Association and a specialist in children’s nutrition, for her verdict on leading breakfast cereals. The calculations are for a 40g serving, with and without 125ml skimmed milk. A teaspoon is equivalent to 4.2g sugar.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 3½.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 5¼.
Calories with milk: 233.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 2.5g.
Salt per 100g: 0.75g.
Sugar per 100g: 35g.

VERDICT: Marketed as being so chocolatey it ‘turns the milk brown’, this cereal is sweetened with sugar and chocolate to provide a huge 35 per cent sugar content. This is as much as you would get in an average sized chocolate bar, so you are effectively having a Dairy Milk bar in every bowl. The energy rush and plummet you would get from something this sugary means you’d be hungry again by mid morning.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 2.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 3.
Calories with milk: 208.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 6.6g.
Salt per 100g: 0.2g.
Sugar per 100g: 20.4g.

VERDICT: Unlike plain porridge oats, all varieties of Ready Brek are fortified. One serving provides almost a third of the recommended adult daily amount (RDA) for the B vitamins, vitamin D and iron and 50 per cent of a child’s calcium intake. However, compared with original, unsweetened Ready Break, this has 20 times more sugar. Stick to the plain stuff and add a teaspoon of honey.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 3½.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk:
5¼. Calories with milk: 245.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 0.6g. Salt per
100g: 0.9g. Sugar per 100g: 37g.

VERDICT: Frosties were considered the worst offender in the Which? report and it’s little wonder with their whopping 37 per cent sugar content. A 40g bowl contains around 15 per cent of the guideline daily amount of sugar. Though this cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals, you’d be far better off eating a couple of pieces of toast with honey. Frosties are no better for you than cake and custard for breakfast.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 3.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 4½.
Calories with milk: 185.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 2.6g.
Salt per 100g: 1g.
Sugar per 100g: 29.7g.

VERDICT: This healthy looking combination of cereal flakes with dates, raisins and apple flakes is high in fibre — but it’s also high in sugar, partly because of the dried fruit. However, much of the sugar in the cereal is fructose, or fruit sugar, which in some studies has been shown to provide a longer-lasting energy boost. It’s not added during the manufacturing process. Still, it is better to stick to an unsweetened, high-fibre cereal such as Shredded Wheat with fresh fruit.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 1¾.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 3.
Calories with milk: 245.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 2.5g.
Salt per 100g: 0.4g.
Sugar per 100g: 18g.

VERDICT: These rice, oat and maize shapes appear to be a healthy choice because they contain ‘a natural prebiotic to help keep kids’ tummies healthy’ (prebiotics fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria). But you’d be far better with a bowl of porridge, which does the same without the added sugar. A bowl of these shapes contains more sugar than two chocolate digestives.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 0.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 1¼. Calories with milk: 189.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 2.2g.
Salt per 100g: Trace.
Sugar per 100g: 0.7g.

VERDICT: Since the only ingredient is wholegrain wheat, it is naturally low in sugar, salt and fat. It contained the least sugar of the 50 cereals analysed by Which? It is also a good source of fibre, with two Shredded Wheat providing almost a quarter of your daily amount.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 2.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 3½.
Calories with milk: 207.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 4.1g.
Salt per 100g: 0.18g.
Sugar per 100g: 23.2g.

VERDICT: Sugar is the second ingredient after wholewheat in these mini biscuits, despite the fact they are naturally sweetened with dried fruit. You would be better off sticking with the original Weetabix biscuits, which contain almost six times less sugar per 100g (4.4g) and have more fibre.

Teaspoons of sugar per serving: 3½.
Teaspoons of sugar when you add milk: 4¾.
Calories with milk: 206.
Fat per 100g of cereal: 3g.
Salt per 100g: 1.75g.
Sugar per 100g: 34g.

VERDICT: This cereal contains sugar, honey and glucose syrup, giving it 34 per cent sugar content. I’d see this as a sweet treat rather than a healthy start to the day for children.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2107361/Sugary-breakfast-cereals-1-Britains-leading-consumer-experts-reveals-shocking-truth.html#ixzz1nfDxx84F

28-02-2012, 08:55 AM
I agree. The sugar we eat is toxic to us and is not necessary to our dietry needs. My guess is, that the introduction of sugar to our diets was a move to help feed the pharmaceutical industry with the ensuing illness and disease as a result of human consumption.


28-02-2012, 09:08 AM
Agreed, breakfast cereals are not good for us, and not just because of their sugar content:

Interesting experiment:

In 1960, researchers at Ann Arbor University performed an interesting experiment on laboratory rats. Eighteen rats were divided into three groups. One group received cornflakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the cornflakes came in and water; and the control group received rat chow and water.

The rats in ths control group remained in good health throughout the experiment.
The rats receiving the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition.
But the rats receiving cornflakes and water died before the rats who were given the box - the last cornflake rat died on the day the first box rat died.

Before death the cornflake rats developed schizophrenic behaviour, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and degeneration of the nerves in the spine - all signs of 'insulin shock'.

The startling conclusion of this study is that there is more nourishment in the box that cold breakfast cereals come in than in the cereals themselves.

Loren Zainer, designer of the experiment, actually proposed the protocol as a joke. But the results are far from funny. They were never published and similar studies have not been repeated. If consumers knew the truth about breakfast cereals, vast fortunes would be jeopardized.

Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions p468/469

28-02-2012, 09:52 AM
This isn't news to me.. Although I totally agree with the OP.

Of course, america are in the lead on this topic for example, I used to eat 'Trix for kids' when I was younger.. They are ridiculously packed with sugars. It's all crap.


Trix (1994) - YouTube

28-02-2012, 10:41 AM
Oh please don't you people watch the commercials, just drink a glass of orange juice with the cereal and your all fired up for the day! I don't know what I'd do without it.

space man
28-02-2012, 10:52 AM
Do you know where the word "cereal" comes from? Something to research, you might find it shocking.;)

28-02-2012, 11:17 AM
Is this an ongoing serial?

28-02-2012, 11:20 AM
as a kid I mixed every day.... honey wheats and coco pops for a balanced meal of sugar...

still do if they are both in the pantry

does a punnet of blueberries on top help?

28-02-2012, 11:53 AM
Do you know where the word "cereal" comes from? Something to research, you might find it shocking.;)

The word cereal derives from Ceres, the name of the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture.

Source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereal

Why is this shocking?

28-02-2012, 12:18 PM
Do you know where the word "cereal" comes from? Something to research, you might find it shocking.;)

So we are all cereal killers?:eek:

28-02-2012, 12:39 PM
also, look at that Nutella advert which says its ok to put chocolate spread on toast for your kids breakfast. what a load of bullshit.

28-02-2012, 12:55 PM
I've been doing this for years now.

Porridge, with strawberries, grapes and banana

Or all-bran with the same

Remember, when it's low fat, it's tasteless, and so usually pumped full of sugar to offset that.

Per 100mg

Carbs which turns to sugar
High 15%

Fat which saturates
High 5%

28-02-2012, 01:34 PM
The sugar content is way too high but there are other things to consider too.

The manufacturers have to add vitamins and minerals to the cereals because the manufacturing process denatures the food so much. Also cereals are a "cheap" source of "nutrition" - or that is how they are portrayed - and for struggling families this is sometimes the only option.

Another thing to consider is the extrusion process - this is done under high heat and virtually changes the protein dna so that your body has a hard time digesting it and may cause illness.

I found a piece of research years ago that I thought was a joke, but the report seems to have disappeared entirely - not surprising. They had three groups of mice, one was the control group and was given their normal food and water, the second group was given cornflakes and water, and the third group - this is funny - were given the cardboard box and water.

The control group thrived as normal but the surprise was that the group that were fed cornflakes died before the mice fed on the cardboard box.

It would be great if anyone can find this research online - there are several sites that mention it but I can't find the original report that I saw. I think it was carried out at Ann Arbor during the 60's but there was a previous one done in the 40's. They've known about this for a lonnnnnnnggggg time!!

The conclusions were that the heat processes so changed the product that it was no longer nutritional.

28-02-2012, 01:57 PM
Last time I looked at cereal, it wasn't even sugar, it was fructose-glucose syrup, also known as HFCS (http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=hfcs&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CEQQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mayoclinic.com%2Fhealth%2Fhig h-fructose-corn-syrup%2FAN01588&ei=Ct1MT_auKYiY8gPu_onyAg&usg=AFQjCNGc2uuyzwXV5zxlwiAFVmmJzpd05A). This is sugar syrup which has been metabolised by GM-produced enzymes to produce an unnatural 'Frankin-sugar'..

space man
28-02-2012, 01:57 PM
Yes, it derives from Ceres, the god/goddess (androgynous? I have hear male and female from different accounts.) of harvest. People would perform a ritual sacrifice to this deity in order to help the harvest/cereal (you know, wheat,corn is cereal...). The sacrifice would have been human, this is where we get the connection to serial killings. Serial killings that you hear on the news are ritual sacrifice.

Take a look at some cereal:

Uncle Toby is a jolly character from a very old book, also a character in satanic rituals:

As the name suggests, eat some black magic:D:
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRyr73sIfB2krjRfYCauZAKu0unPeNVE 2vFkEvpPmll1iMDcaTyPA

Sanitarium, because if you spend time in an insane asylum, you will shit brix:

Are you sure they're lucky?:
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQCOGPbxPPdeygvMzKt04kJObrwX2WS7 PwHUPdc-Zfi3j_-2CdMKQ

And there's more that need a lot more explanation than pictures, such as Chex.

space man
28-02-2012, 02:07 PM
You can read more about Uncle Toby here: http://www.skullandcrossbones.org/articles/skullandbones.htm

28-02-2012, 04:01 PM
I've been doing this for years now.

Porridge, with strawberries, grapes and banana

Or all-bran with the same

Remember, when it's low fat, it's tasteless, and so usually pumped full of sugar to offset that.

Per 100mg

Carbs which turns to sugar
High 15%

Fat which saturates
High 5%

Mmm.. yeah me too. Plus I sweeten it with honey or maple syrup, I've got quite a sweet tooth:D

28-02-2012, 05:19 PM
no wonder why i have a bad stomach after eating cereal, i hardly touch them now apart from golden grahams and that is eaten with soya milk and honey, i can't eat even that for long before my stomach winces in pain! :(

28-02-2012, 06:41 PM
I've never understood the attraction of the great British breakfast cereal - apart from oatmeal to make porridge. It's anything but natural. Can you imagine what it looks like before it gets to the end of the production line? Nasty sugary chemical gunk.

the apprentice
28-02-2012, 07:01 PM
I've been doing this for years now.

Porridge, with strawberries, grapes and banana

Or all-bran with the same

Remember, when it's low fat, it's tasteless, and so usually pumped full of sugar to offset that.

Per 100mg

Carbs which turns to sugar
High 15%

Fat which saturates
High 5%

Yay, banana porridge, add ripe banana a couple of mins just before the end of cooking and milk. Ummm.

28-02-2012, 07:08 PM
I agree with most of what that article says but sugar is not toxic, if you eat it in moderation.

The same applys to most foods on the market, not just cereals from that article

Sugar is a natural product but too much is added to our food, and because most of our food is processed junk food.

It also the same for many low fat ready meals where, they may be low in fat but they make up for the low fat with more sugar. This is not good but you need to find food with a balance.

If you cut out most of all the sugary junk food's drinks, you can reduce being overweight. At the end of the day, it's all about making money and private companies don't care about what they put in your food.

More sugar, fat = more money. Simples. ;)

Remember, aspartame is far worse than sugar and is a substitute in most foods. That is the real toxin.

Btw I no longer eat cereals, because they contain so much sugar but eat 2 bananas for my breakfast. Much better for you. :)