The sweet story about cereal and sugar
Brown or white, granulated or caster, in cubes or sachets, sugar’s been around since Christopher Columbus brought a bit of sugar cane back from the Canary Islands (there’s a fact that could impress the rest of the family!). It’s one of the ingredients in many foods, including breakfast cereals.
Sugars intake in breakfast examples
What is sugar's role?
Sugar preserves, gives a texture, a nice golden colour and, of course, a sweeter flavour. Most cereal is made mostly from grain, which can make it a good source of fibre and contains vitamins and minerals. So sugar is merely its partner (or maybe we should say sweetheart?).
Egyptians used to bury mummies with necklaces made from barley, and in 1324 King Edward II of England set the standard for the measurement - making the ‘inch’ equal to ‘three grains of barley, dry and round, placed end-to-end lengthwise’.
Rice in disguise
Wild rice isn’t really rice at all – it’s the seed of an aquatic grass originally grown by Native American tribes. It has a strong flavour and is quite expensive so it’s usually mixed with other types of rice.
Just how sweet?
Sugars from breakfast cereals make up around 5% of the average daily intake of added sugars for adults (8% for children. And studies show that children who eat pre-sweetened breakfast cereal show no difference in their overall daily intake of sugars compared to those who don’t.
So there you have it – the sweet story about breakfast cereal and sugar.
1. Bates B et al (2016) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 5-6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13 – 2013/14) London: Public Health England
2. Albertson AM, Thompson DR, Franko DL et al (2011) Weight indicators and nutrient intake in children and adolescents do not vary by sugar content in ready-to-eat cereal: results from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2006. Nutr Res. Mar;31(3):229-36. • Bachman JL, Reedy J, Subar AF et al (2008) Sources of food group intakes among the U.S. population, 2001-2002. J Am Diet Assoc.;108(5):804-14. • INCA2 (2008) French National Dietary Survey.