Check out that cereal packet

By Siski Green, Tuesday 28 February 2012

Alphabet T The breakfast bowl that you thought was a healthy option may contain far more sugar than you think
Breakfast cerealBreakfast cereal

So you’ve given up the full English in favour of a bowl of fibre-based cereal and some skimmed milk for the sake of your health? Sadly it may not be doing you as much good as you thought. A new Which? report shows that many cereals contain surprising amounts of sugar – the equivalent of biscuits and other sweet foods.

The consumer magazine found that some cereals – Kellogg’s Frosties and various supermarket own-brands of chocolate rice cereal, for example – had 36-37g of sugar per 100g – the equivalent of nearly nine teaspoons of sugar. (For comparison, a KitKat contains seven teaspoonfuls.)  Other cereals, generally thought of as healthy options also came in high on the sugar scale: Bran Flakes contains 22g of sugar – nearly as much as Weetabix’s Chocolatey Weetos (23.5g). At the other end of the scale were Weetabix with just 4.4g of sugar per 100g, and Nestlé Shredded Wheat (0.7g). Some cereals contained more sugar than you might have expected – Kellogg’s and M&S cornflakes had 1.3 and 1.25g per 100g, respectively.

Healthier breakfast options:

Shredded Wheat Low in sugar, salt and fat. “Shredded wheat provides a lot of fibre,” says registered nutritionist Dr Carina Norris. “And  it contains no added sugar or salt, so it's a good way to start your day. Add a handful of blueberries or other fruit to up your vitamin content too.”

Porridge Make it with water or skimmed milk and don’t add sugar or salt. “Oats are also good for lowering cholesterol,” says Norris. “And they’re a source of trace minerals that are essential for health. But if you opt for instant varieties, bear in mind that some contain lots of added sugar.”

Muesli Look at the list of ingredients and opt for one that’s low in salt, and medium for fat. It may not be low in overall sugar content because of the dried fruit, but choose one without added sugar. “Add a dollop of low-fat natural yogurt too,” says Norris.  "This will provide extra protein, plus calcium for protecting and maintaining bones. Yogurt with added 'friendly bacteria' could also benefit your digestive system."

Rye bread with smoked salmon If you’re after a bigger breakfast or something savoury, this is ideal. Salmon is, of course, a great source of heart-healthy omega-3s and, as it’s protein, will help keep you feeling satisfied for a long while. And why rye? “It helps increase satiety,” says registered nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer. “Including rye bread in your breakfast will help curb mid-morning and mid-afternoon cravings, so you eat less overall.”

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.


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  • Deirdre Brown

    Posted: Thursday 23 January 2014

    All this emphasis on sugar now, whereas as a diabetic I have been looking for low sugar products for the last three years and they are very difficult to find. Recipes also very often do not give the sugar content, just calories and fat.

  • robert rickard

    Posted: Wednesday 07 March 2012

    i really like trying lots of your food alternitives, keep them coming.


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