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.
- ^ Bates B et al (2014) UK National Diet & Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2008/2009 – 2011/2012). London: Public Health England
- ^ 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.
We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:
Do Nestlé products in emerging countries have more salt than products in developed/developing countries?
For the last 15 years we’ve been working to reduce the sodium (which is the major component of salt) in our breakfast cereals across the world, because we want to keep on making them more nutritious. Achieving consistency on all products, in all countries, takes time - so some may have more sodium than others. Our aim is for all our cereals – globally – to have the same reduced levels of sodium, with a target of less than 135mg per serving in all our children’s products.
What are the health and nutritional benefits of Nestlé Gluten Free Corn Flakes?
As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron
How can I find foods made with whole grain?
Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too. It’s easy to know if a Nestlé breakfast cereal is made with whole grain: just look out for the Green Banner and whole grain tick on top of the box.
I’ve heard a low GI diet can help me lose weight. Is this true?
It’s too early to say. The science in this area is still emerging. There is evidence that low GI foods take longer to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer, but none that you’ll eat fewer calories at the next meal.