Children's Cereals

Sugar by the Pound

May 15, 2014

Children's Cereals: EWG’s Recommendations

For parents

  • Reduce sugar consumption from all sources and seek out foods without added sugars.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts labels carefully and choose cereals with the lowest sugar content. Look for cereals that are low-sugar [no more than a teaspoon (4 grams) per serving] or moderately sweetened [less than 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) per serving].
  • Prepare breakfast from scratch as often as possible; add fruit for fiber, potassium and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Check out EWG’s Healthy Breakfast Tips for great ideas on making healthy and sustaining breakfasts.
  • Speak out. Use your buying dollars and your words to tell cereal manufacturers you want more low-sugar choices for you and your family.

For policy makers

  • FDA should finalize the addition of “added sugars” to the Nutrition Facts panel.
  • FDA should only allow promotional labels that make nutritional claims or use the word “healthy” on products that are low in added sugars.
  • FDA should update the cereal serving sizes cited on Nutrition Facts labels to accurately reflect the larger amounts that Americans actually eat.
  • FDA should commission a new study by the Institute of Medicine of the harmful health effects of consuming high amounts of added sugar and seek further guidance on whether setting a Daily Value for sugar would be justified.

For manufacturers

  • Companies should lower the sugar content of their cereals.
  • Companies should not make nutrient content claims or use the word “healthy” on products that are high in added sugars.
  • The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, the food industry’s voluntary self-regulation program, should require participants to add no more than 6 grams of sugar per serving in products advertised to children. This is the limit set by the government’s supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children.
  • Companies should not market high sugar cereals containing 6 grams