Are Your Children Eating Toxic Cereal?
I've been saying for years that sugar is bad for you. Now, countless experts are joining the chorus, singing the dangers of added sugars in the diet. In my book, True Nutrition-European Secrets for American Women, I talk about pioneering work by Robert H. Lustig, MD. Dr. Lustig is a Pediatric Endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. Since he first presented a lecture in 2009, entitled "Sugar: the Bitter Truth," Dr. Lustig has become a recognizable crusader against the excess-sugar epidemic. He believes excess sugar is making us fat, contributing to epidemic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and putting out kids at risk at ever-earlier ages for all kinds of diseases formerly encountered only among adults.
A video of his lecture went viral in 2010, and although skeptics were quick to criticize his premise, in the intervening years many more experts have taken up the cause. Although he originally singled out high fructose corn syrup as "poison," Lustig has also noted there is essentially no such thing as safe sugar, in any form. Not when it's consumed at levels that are commonplace today.
Take children's cereal. Preferably, take it straight to the trash can.
If sugar is toxic, then this stuff is incredibly poisonous. According to the non-profit consumer advocacy watchdog organization, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), breakfast cereals are the fifth-leading source of added sugars in young children's diets. Only sweetened drinks, cookies, candy bars, and ice cream contribute more sugar to little ones' diets.
Breakfast cereal is second only to a candy bar in terms of sugar?! Can this be true? Sadly, it is. EWG has made a free report available to the public, entitled "Children's Cereals: Sugar by the Pound". Access this shocking report at www.ewg.org. Among other things, it lists a dozen or more cereals that contain more than 50% sugar. Fifty percent!
In typical EWG fashion, the report lists both bad and good examples of cereals. Some of the worst offenders are among the best known brands. For instance, Kellogg's Honey Smacks are perched at the top the heap. A single serving of some of these sugar bombs contains sugar equivalent to three chocolate chip cookies. Many brands make misleading claims on their packaging, emphasizing vitamin and mineral content, or the presence of fiber. Don't buy it. Literally. Say no to these candy bars masquerading as healthful breakfast foods for your kids, and choose better alternatives.
Home cooked oatmeal, even with some added honey, and some fresh fruit, is a far less sugary, more healthful alternative. Or prepare eggs or other high-protein foods instead of sugar touted by cartoon characters.