Cookies for breakfast? Most would say no way. But you may actually be unknowingly serving up heaping bowls of cereal with just as much -- if not more -- sugar.
The Environmental Working Group, a public health nonprofit, reviewed nutrition labels for 84 popular brands of breakfast cereals marketed toward children. Out of those 84, 56 clocked in above 24 to 26 percent sugar by weight, the maximum recommended earlier this year by a Congress-assembled group of marketing experts and nutrition scientists, according to the report, which was released today.
A serving of cereal that's 26 percent sugar by weight may not sound so shocking -- until you consider the sugar content in some notorious junk food. The EWG authors report that a one-cup serving of Kellogg's Honey Smacks contains more sugar than a Twinkie. A one-cup serving of 44 different cereals the EWG examined contains more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. And a one-cup serving of 56 different cereals has more sugar than two Oreos.
The problem with a super-sweet breakfast? Not only does the body convert extra sugar calories to fat, but the sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike. When they crash, you will be hungry again -- and craving more unhealthy, sweet and fatty foods.
Look instead for breakfast cereals with at least 3 or 4 grams of fiber, to help you stay full longer, as well as varieties made with whole grains. Adding berries to your cereal or having a piece of fruit on the side can satisfy a sweets craving more naturally, and also help you meet your quota of servings of fruit for the day.