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.
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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.
A ‘whole’ grain has more nutrients than a ‘refined’ grain, because all parts of the grain are retained – kernel, bran, endosperm and germ – along with their fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. But most of the bran and germ are removed when producing refined grains. Whole grains therefore contain more nutrients than refined grains.
The general name for proteins found in cereal grains such as wheat. It holds the food together, like a ‘glue’, and gives dough its elasticity.
Keep it simple: make grains the base of your diet and choose whole grains over refined grains wherever possible. U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 3 servings (48g) a day. So, whenever you look for breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice or flour to cook at home, look for the word “whole”, ideally among the first ingredients in the list.
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