I’ve heard it a million times growing up – Sugar cereals are junk and are no good for you. Of course that was always followed up by buying those non-sugar cereals which I would just coat with sugar making the end result more sugar for me!
But after all that, I noticed something a little while ago when buying cereal for my kids. You see, cereal companies have taken to putting nutritional details on their packages. Which sheds a little light on the lies my mother fed me as a child. Check out the following image:
The top part is from one of those sugar cereals, and the lower part is from one of those “good for you” non-sugared boxes. They’ve got a lot of the same information on the label like the calorie count of 110. The total fat isn’t exactly the same, but 1 gram versus 0 grams is insignificant in my books. Things get really interesting when you start to compare the sodium found in a serving. The “good for you” non-sugared cereal has more than double the sodium found in the sugared box – 220 milligrams compared to just 105 milligrams. That’s insane. There’s no need for so much sodium in a serving. Oh, and while we’re talking servings, they’ve indicated that a serving is just ¾ of a cup. I don’t know anyone that has just ¾ of a cup of cereal. At the least, I would expect everyone to have double that, while on average I think you would find people having 3 times that. So, with 1 helping of the “good for you” non-sugared cereal, you’re taking in 27% or 660 milligrams of your daily recommended amount of sodium.
To be fair, the sugar count on the sugared cereal is more than double that of the “good for you” non-sugared one. In fact, it’s pushing 3 times. Sure you need to be concerned about sugar and sodium that your children consume, but you can’t tell me that the non-sugared cereal is any better for you than the sugared one. High salt diets can increase your risk of conditions like stomach cancer, cataracts, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Yes, I know that high sugar diets increase your risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
The end result is that the “good for you” non-sugared cereal is just as bad for you as the sugared cereal. So just buy the cereal that you think tastes good and go with it.