Honey Smacks breakfast cereal.
Kristoffer Tripplaar/AlamyHoney Smacks, with 56 percent sugar by weight, was the worst offender, according to the study.
By Carey Gillam

U.S. children are consuming more than 10 pounds of sugar annually if they eat a typical morning bowl of cereal each day, contributing to obesity and other health problems, and cereal-makers and regulators are doing little to address the issue, according to a study released Thursday.

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based health information non-profit, said its report covers more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.

As part of the report, the group re-examined 84 cereals it studied in a similar report in 2011, and found that the sugar content of those cereals remained on average at 29 percent. Some cereals had increased sugar content now compared to 2011, and none of the 181 cereals marketed to children was free of added sugars, the group found. On average, children's cereals have more than 40 percent more sugars than adult cereals, EWG said.

"Obviously we know cereals have a lot of sugar in them," said Dawn Undurraga, an EWG consultant and a co-author of the report. "But there is a lot that manufacturers can be doing and FDA can be doing, to protect kids."

The group said one of the worst offenders is Kellogg's (K) Honey Smacks, with 56 percent sugar by weight.

A child eating an average serving of a typical children's cereal eats more than 10 pounds of sugar a year from that source alone, and the average daily intake of added sugar for children is two to three times the recommended amount, the EWG said.

A Kellogg official said the company has cut sugar in its top-selling kids' cereals by 20 percent to 30 percent over time. The company said the EWG report ignores the benefits provided by a cereal breakfast, including pre-sweetened cereals.

"When you consider what constitutes a good breakfast, cereal and fat free milk pack a powerful nutritional punch, lower in fat and calories than many other breakfast choices, and including many nutrients that people might otherwise miss," said company spokeswoman Kris Charles.

The report is the latest in a push by consumer and health groups to convince food companies and regulators to cut unhealthy ingredients from packaged food products.

In March, the Food and Drug Administration proposed that added sugar content be listed in nutrition facts panels on packaged foods. But the serving sizes need to be more accurately labeled, the EWG said.

Cereal-maker General Mills (GIS) also has already cut the sugar content in its cereals advertised to children, on average by 16 percent since 2007, according to spokeswoman Kirstie Foster. The company's cereals advertised to children have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving, with some at 9 grams, Foster said.

The EWG said companies shouldn't market cereals containing 6 grams of sugar or more per serving to children.

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When I was a kid in the 70's everybody ate these cereals, anything with marshmallows and a monster mascot ruled (Booberry, Count Chocula) . Nobody got diabetes and very few children were overweight because the streets were practically overrun with children who actually went outside and played from sun-up to sun-down instead of being kept inside like veal playing videogames.

May 15 2014 at 9:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

after watching the world diabetes symposium the last 9 days, that much sugar is bad for adults as well.

May 15 2014 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only semi-"healthy" cold cereals are the whole grains with nothing at all added. I like cooked (whole) grains in the morning, with blueberries, almonds, flax meal, and a drizzle of either honey or molasses. The thousands of highly processed, overly sweetened boxes of garbage that litter up the grocery shelves should be taken to the dump. And burned.

May 15 2014 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just one more indication the FDA is useless and controlled by the corporate empire as they feed their garbage to the masses of sheep that infest this nation of obese pigs and gullible nitwits.

May 15 2014 at 1:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I don't eat cereal, period. All of it has either sugar or some type of additive.

May 15 2014 at 11:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When I was a kid in the 70's, all the cereals had a SUGAR name. Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks, Sugar Crisp, Sugar Frosted Oats.. They removed the Sugar from the title but not from the product. Worse than all that sugar is the dye and the preservatives. There is NO REASON to load up on BHT and other harmful chemicals when there are healthier choices the companies could make. They just want to use the cheapest of the cheap so they can keep rolling in the dough while they sicken the very people who are making them money. When I contacted many different cereal companies to ask why they use BHT in their products and how much is too much to consume, NOT ONE COMPANY would give me a straight answer. They all basically said the same thing and that was they were allowed by the FDA to add BHT to their procduts. NOT ONE company could explain how much is too much but just think if you ate a couple bowls of cereal and then later on ate something else that also has BHT in it and then you applied some skin lotion (Many have BHT in them as well)... you have no idea how much you're ingesting! It's proven to cause kidney failure in lab animals and excellerates tumor growth. Who the hell wants their kids to eat that? Not only that but the colorings they use to make the cereals look pretty are full of chemicals that are known to cause adverse reactions in children and some adults. It's time they clean up the foods once and for all. We don't need all that poison from colorings and preservatives.

May 15 2014 at 10:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Used to love cereal growing up but stopped eating it in college for health reasons by sophomore year in college (1971). The health reason that I gave up cereal was because I stopped drinking that evil poison, cow's milk. The dangers of consuming sugared cereal pale in comparison to the dangers of drinking homogenized cow's milk

May 15 2014 at 9:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wlh1923's comment

And you went to college and preach that crap about milk? God help us if you represent the future.

May 15 2014 at 11:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to georgettec28's comment

Thankfully he/she went to college in 1971 so is very much a part of the past. Evils of milk...sounds like someone with an agenda.

May 15 2014 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

This is how the cereal companies sell their product to kids who beg their parents to buy it...sugar and more sugar.....and parents wonder why more and more children have diabetes!!! Shame on the Cereal Companies!!!! Parents need to pay a lot more attention to what their children are eating and drinking!!!

May 15 2014 at 9:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

If this is news to anyone then their probably too stupid to care. Cereal is just the beginning. Just about every drink out there is filled with sugars. Snacks are full of sugar. When I read the labels on food I find sugar in everything. "Low Fat" doesn't mean a thing if they have increased the sugar to compensate for flavor. "Sugar Free" might mean an increase in fat content.

Just about everyone is aware that our foods aren't always good for us, but many go right ahead and keep eating junk. So no we are obese, diseased and being kept alive by medications.

May 15 2014 at 9:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Lets face it ...kids want what they want. If its bad for you it must be good and most likely is. The job of cereal companies is to make money for its share holders. And to do that they must sell more product. That being said it is up to the parents to regulate what the kids eat....period!

May 15 2014 at 8:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply