The biggest breakfast cereal offenders

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and here in the UK. Us Brits eat more breakfast cereal than anywhere else in Europe but according to a recent 'Which?' report that compared the sugar, salt and saturated fat content of 100 different UK breakfast cereals, your beloved bowl of cereal could contain more sugar than a jam doughnut, more salt than a packet of peanuts and more saturated fat than a Burger King hamburger.

Bitter sweet
Over half of the cereals tested were found to be high in sugar. This included a shocking 96% of cereals targeted at children with 22 containing more sugar than a jam doughnut.

Only eight of the 100 cereals tested received the green light for this nutrient (see below). 31 out of the 100 cereals tested contained more than four teaspoons of sugar per portion which, when you take into account the fact that many adults and children also add sugar to their cereals, is a real cause for concern for both your teeth and your waistline.

Top sugar sinners:
Morrison's Choco Crackles
Kellogg's Coco Pops Moons and Stars
Kellogg's Frosties
Kellogg's Ricicles.

Top sugar saints:
Nestle Shredded Wheat
Weetabix Oatabix
Whole Earth Organic Flakes
Asda Wheat Bisks
Morrison's Wheat Biscuits
Sainsbury's Whole-wheat Biscuits
Tesco Wheat Biscuits and Weetabix

[See also: Top 6 stop-hunger foods]

Worth their salt?
Although salt levels in many cereals has reduced over recent years still only 15 received the green light for this nutrient and two cereals aimed at children (Kellogg's Honey Nut Loops and Kellogg's Rice Krispies) plus one from a supermarket 'healthy' range (Sainsbury's Be Good To Yourself Balance) contained the same amount of salt as a 50g serving of salted peanuts. This is of particular concern for health as high salt intakes can raise blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Top salt sinners:
Tesco Special Flakes
Kellogg's Cornflakes
Kellogg's Honey Loops
Morrison's Honey Nut Cornflakes
Whole Earth Organic Cornflakes
Kellogg's Rice Krispies
Sainsbury's Be Good To Yourself Balance
Tesco Corn Flakes.

Top salt saints:
Jordan's Crunchy Oats
Kellogg's Optima Raisin Oat Crisps
Cornflake Tradition Crunchy
Nestle Honey Nut Shredded Wheat
Nestle Shredded Wheat

Facts on fats
Although none of the cereals tested were high in fat some did contain more saturated fat per serving than a Burger King Hamburger (see below) so it is worth checking the labels, particularly if you prefer a crunchy cereal variety.

Cereals found to be high in saturated fat were:

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Bites
Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Clusters
Milk Chocolate Curls
Kellogg's Crunchy Oatbakes
Mornflake Traditional Crunchy

To find out more about just how healthy your favourite breakfast cereal is see the Which Cereal Report.

The bittersweet truth about hidden sugars in your food

Three reasons why artificial sweetners could be making you fat

Top 10 healthy snacks

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