Sugar in Children's Cereals

Popular Brands Pack More Sugar Than Snack Cakes and Cookies

December 12, 2011

Sugar in Children's Cereals: More Sugar than a Twinkie

Popular brands pack more sugar than snack cakes and cookies

Parents have good reason to worry about the sugar content of children's breakfast cereals, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 84 popular brands.

Kellogg's Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of high-sugar cereals, according to EWG's analysis.

A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of 44 other children's cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.


Honey smacks and a twinkie

More sugar than a Twinkie

One cup of any of three popular children's cereals contains more sugar than a Twinkie: Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisp, and General Mills Wheaties Fuel.

Honey Smacks: 20 grams of sugar | Twinkies: 18 grams of sugar.                             Source: EWG analysis of product nutrition labels.









Honey nut Cheerios and Chips Ahoy

More sugar than Chips Ahoy!

One cup of any of 44 children's cereals – including Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, and Cap'n Crunch – contains more sugar than 3 Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Honey Nut Cheerios: 12 grams of sugar | Chips Ahoy!: 11 grams of sugar.        Source: EWG analysis of product nutrition labels.





Most children's cereals fail to meet the federal government's proposed voluntary guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to children. Sugar is the top problem, but many also contain too much sodium or fat or not enough whole grain.


The bottom line: Most parents say no to dessert for breakfast, but many children's cereals have just as much sugar as a dessert – or more. Simple-to-prepare, healthy breakfasts for children can include fresh fruit and high-fiber, lower-sugar cereals. Better yet, pair that fruit with homemade oatmeal.