Study: Children like low-sugar cereal offerings

by Eric Schroeder
Share This:

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILL. — Children given the option of eating low-sugar cereals will do so, and generally like the taste, according to a new study from researchers with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The study, which was published on-line Dec. 13 in Pediatrics, examined 91 school-aged children at New England summer camps. Of the children, 46 were allowed to choose from one of three high sugar cereals — Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles — that contain between 11 and 12 grams of sugar per serving. The remaining 45 children chose from three cereals — Cheerios, Rice Krispies and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes — that were lower in sugar, with about 1 to 4 grams of sugar per serving.

Both groups of children were allowed to choose from low-fat milk, orange juice, bananas, strawberries and extra sugar.

According to the study, children in the low-sugar group added more sugar than the others, but also more fruit (54% versus 8%). Children in the high-sugar group ate significantly more cereal (61 grams versus 35 grams) and almost twice as much refined sugar (24.4 grams versus 12.5 grams) than the low-sugar group.

Additionally, a questionnaire issued as part of the study found that while most of the children indicated they liked the three high-sugar cereals significantly more on average than the low-sugar cereals, 90% of the children who chose a low-sugar cereal said they found a cereal they “liked” or “loved.”

“Compared with serving low-sugar cereals, high-sugar cereals increase children’s total sugar consumption and reduce the overall nutritional quality of their breakfast,” the researchers said. “Children will consume low-sugar cereals when offered, and they provide a superior breakfast option.”

The study’s findings come a few days after Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc. said it is meeting its goal of reducing sugar in cereal advertised to children, and in 2010 it has cut sugar by an additional 8%, on average, in those cereals. The company said it now has achieved sugar reductions of 14% since 2007, with some cereals reduced as much as 28%.

Add a Comment
We welcome your thoughtful comments. Please comply with our Community rules.

The views expressed in the comments section of Baking Business News do not reflect those of Baking Business News or its parent company, Sosland Publishing Co., Kansas City, Mo. Concern regarding a specific comment may be registered with the Editor by clicking the Report Abuse link.