23.06.2024

FORTY additives and as much sugar as two Krispy Kreme Donuts, America’s worst breakfast cereals

A bowl of cereal with milk is an American breakfast staple — but many of the most popular brands contain as much sugar as candy and confectionery. Successful marketing campaigns over the decades have touted that breakfast is the ‘best meal of the day,’ but doctors are increasingly warning that eating sugary cereal is setting yourself up for failure.

The worst offender is Honey Smacks, which contains almost as much sugar as two Krispy Kreme donuts in just one cup — that’s without adding milk. And most people have at least two cups of cereal for breakfast.

Another big offender is Cap’n Crunch, which is just as sugary as four mini Kit Kat bars.

While these cereals are known to be loaded with sugar, others may be more surprising.

Cheerios, for example, is one of the best-selling brands in the United States. More than 139.1 million boxes were sold in 2021, according to research from Zippia.

It’s widely been touted for its health benefits, with the brand claiming that the whole grains it features help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Though an American breakfast staple, many kid and adult-focused varieties are loaded with excess amounts of sugar and sodium, which can lead to lasting health problems

Though an American breakfast staple, many kid and adult-focused varieties are loaded with excess amounts of sugar and sodium, which can lead to lasting health problems

However, the Honey Nut Cheerios flavor is loaded with sugar.

Just one cup has 12 grams of sugar, almost as much as three Chips Ahoy! cookies and six times the amount of sugar in original Cheerios.

A cup of Kellogg’s Smart Start Original Antioxidants cereal, despite its healthy-sounding name, has 260 milligrams (mg) of salt, more than a medium order of McDonald’s fries.

Too much sugar has consistently been linked to detrimental health problems.

A review published last month in the journal BMJ, for example, linked high consumption of added sugars to 45 negative health outcomes.

These include diabetes, gout, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, cancer, asthma, tooth decay, depression, and early death.

Much of the danger is specifically with added sugars. Fructose and lactose, for example, occur naturally in foods like fruits and milk. Added sugars include sucrose, dextrose, and syrups, which are manufactured in processed foods such as cereal.

Getting too much sugar so early in the morning can throw off your whole day.

Sugars are broken down into glucose more quickly than other carbs, which means they get absorbed into the bloodstream faster. This can cause blood sugar spikes, which lead to mid-morning crashes and slowed metabolism.

Meanwhile, salt, which more than 90 percent of Americans get too much of, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can lead to increased risk of heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes.

Fruity Pebbles, though also packed with sugars, have more sinister ingredients lurking.

The cereal contains BHA, a common additive in processed foods such as cereals, gum, fast food, and snacks.

It’s also a possible human carcinogen, meaning that it can increase the risk of cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

They also contain the additives Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1, and Blue 2, which give the cereal it’s bright colors.

Additives like these are put into the foods to enhance their flavor, appearance or help keep them fresh.

Red 40 and the two Yellows have both been banned from food products in the UK. This is because they contain benzidine, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low doses.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, ingestion of free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the ‘concern’ threshold, or one cancer in 1 million people.

Some states, like California, have made pushes to ban additives such as these, though they are largely permitted in the US.

And though it has just a few ingredients, Raisin Bran might not be as healthy as it seems.

It contains 47 grams of carbs per cup, or 20 percent of the daily recommended intake.

Most of these carbs are refined, meaning they are mostly made up of processed sugars. They have been stripped of all fiber and nutrients, and because the body digests low-fiber food quickly, you’re more likely to need to eat more to stay full.

Read more about the worst offending cereals below:

Kellogg’s Krave

Price: $4.98

Calories per box: 2,040

Calories per serving: 170

Fat per serving: 4.5 grams

Salt per serving: 140 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 15 grams

Ingredients: 27

Honey Smacks

Price: $6.79

Calories per box: 1,560

Calories per serving: 130

Fat per serving: 0.5 grams

Salt per serving: 45 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 18 grams

Ingredients: 9

Apple Jacks

Price: $4.18

Calories per box: 1,500

Calories per serving: 150

Fat per serving: 1.5 grams

Salt per serving: 210 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 13 grams

Ingredients: 32

Special K Fruit & Yogurt

Price: $4.98

Calories per box: 1,440

Calories per serving: 160

Fat per serving: 1 gram

Salt per serving: 190 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 13 grams

Ingredients: 38

Kellogg’s Smart Start Antioxidants

Price: $4.99

Calories per box: 1,680

Calories per serving: 240

Fat per serving: 1 gram

Salt per serving: 260 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 18 grams

Ingredients: 25

Honey Nut Cheerios

Price: $3.68

Calories per box: 1,120

Calories per serving: 140

Fat per serving: 2 grams

Salt per serving: 210 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 12 grams

Ingredients: 22

Cap’n Crunch

Price: $4.99

Calories per box: 1,350

Calories per serving: 150

Fat per serving: 2 grams

Salt per serving: 290 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 17 grams

Ingredients: 15

Fruity Pebbles

Price: $3.79

Calories per box: 1,260

Calories per serving: 140

Fat per serving: 1.5 grams

Salt per serving: 190 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 12 grams

Ingredients: 25

Raisin Bran

Price: $4.29

Calories per box: 2,090

Calories per serving: 190

Fat per serving: 1 gram

Salt per serving: 200 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 17 grams

Ingredients: 7

Lucky Charms

Price: $3.48

Calories per box: 1,960

Calories per serving: 140

Fat per serving: 1.5 grams

Salt per serving: 220 milligrams

Sugar per serving: 12 grams

Ingredients: 26

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