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Sugar content of 50 popular breakfast cereals

  • Sugar content of 50 popular breakfast cereals

    Like bar soap, diamonds, and fabric softener, breakfast cereal is on the list of products that have experienced slumping sales thanks to the changing shopping habits of younger generations. Although food companies had made some effort to improve cereals' nutritional appeal in recent years, they've since done a 180: declining marketability and customer dissatisfaction have prompted a return to stereotypically sugar-packed breakfast cereal.

    Even cereals that promote themselves as being a part of a healthy breakfast can be made up of more than 50% sugar by weight. And when you eat a massive amount of sugar the first thing in the day, it can spike your blood sugar and signal to your brain throughout the day that you need more sugar, leading to dips in energy levels and concentration—not exactly what you want to get from the most important meal of the day. A fluctuation in blood sugar levels can also lead to weight gain and obesity over a long period of time. Because sugary cereals are often marketed to children, this can facilitate an unhealthy lifestyle during key developmental years.

    Nutritionists recommend that consumers avoid cereals with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving and choose one with as much fiber as possible to stick with a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that a diet with reduced sugar and increased fiber can lead to weight loss and an improved insulin function.

    Using April 2018 data from the USDA, Stacker compiled a guide to the sugar content of 50 popular breakfast cereals, ranked by grams of sugar per 100 grams of cereal. Overall, 107 different products were considered—read on to find out which ones are “cereal” offenders.

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  • #50. Honey Bunches Of Oats with Cinnamon Bunches

    - Per 100 grams: 400 cal, 20.4 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.051 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Honey Bunches of Oats with Cinnamon Bunches is a less sugary alternative than a number of the cereal's other varieties, with just six grams of sugar and real cinnamon baked directly in the cereal that adds spice to breakfast without the sugar high. The cereal also is advertised as “heart healthy,” thanks to its exclusion of trans fat and cholesterol. But those looking to steer clear of sugar should note the cereal's ingredients, which include sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, and malted corn and barley syrup.

  • #49. Honey Bunches Of Oats, with vanilla bunches

    - Per 100 grams: 394 cal, 20.7 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.053 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Post's Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Bunches boasts 35 grams of whole grains and is made without high fructose corn syrup. However, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to the cereal's nutrition label, which like its other varieties includes a range of sweeteners like brown sugar, corn syrup, and honey (along with just plain sugar).

  • #48. Alpha-Bits

    - Per 100 grams: 389 cal, 21.00 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.054 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Alpha-Bits was just one of the cereal products that Post revamped in the early 2000s, rolling out a new version of the popular letter-shaped cereal that was 75% whole grains and contained zero sugar. But the public reaction to the new and improved Alpha-Bits wasn't as positive as Post had hoped. With no sugar coating, the cereal pieces easily broke apart, and with more oat flour than before, the letters became chunky and misshapen. Eventually, the original recipe was reintroduced.

  • #47. Oat Blenders with honey

    - Per 100 grams: 396 cal, 21.62 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.055 grams / cal
    - Brand: Malt-O-Meal

    Although Malt-O-Meal's Oat Blenders with honey cereal only contains 6 grams of sugar per each serving of 3/4 cup, it has four different sweeteners: sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and honey. However, a bowl of Oat Blenders isn't the worst: The cereal contains no trans fat, 11 grams of vitamins and minerals, and almost half of the daily recommended value of both iron and folic acid.

  • #46. Shredded Wheat, lightly frosted, spoon-size

    - Per 100 grams: 352 cal, 22.30 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.063 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Post's classic Shredded Wheat cereal has an impressively minimal ingredient list: whole-grain wheat is the sole component. The lightly frosted variety is a sweeter take on the original, with 12 grams of sugar per serving. Although the box advertises the product as being naturally sweetened and having no high fructose corn syrup, sugar and brown sugar are the second and third ingredients.

  • #45. Honey Bunches Of Oats, with real strawberries

    - Per 100 grams: 399 cal, 24 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.06 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Honey Bunches of Oats is a popular cereal choice, but the cornflake-oat combo packs a sugary punch—the version sold with real strawberries contains even more sugar than the original. While a serving size of 3/4 cup only contains 8 grams of sugar, the sources of sugar in the cereal's ingredient list mirror the roster of sweeteners featured in other Honey Bunches varieties. On the bright side, a bowlful also contains 10 grams of whole grains, plus nine vitamins and minerals.

  • #44. Great Grains, Raisin, Date & Pecans Whole Grain Cereal

    - Per 100 grams: 378 cal, 24.1 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.064 grams / cal
    - Brand: Post

    Post's Great Grains Raisins, Dates & Pecans Whole Grain Cereal markets itself as a “less processed” cereal with healthy fat-rich pecans, whole grain flakes and clusters, and raisins and dates packed with fiber. But despite its nutritious components, one bowlful of the cereal contains 13 grams of sugar by way of brown sugar, regular sugar, and corn syrup. Still, consumers can also count on a whopping 31 grams of whole grains per serving as well as 5 grams of natural fiber.

  • #43. Quaker 100% Natural Granola With Oats, Wheat, Honey, And Raisins

    - Per 100 grams: 412 cal, 24.63 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.060 grams / cal
    - Brand: Quaker

    While granola like this Quaker offering can conjure up images of a healthy, wholesome lifestyle, its diet-friendly reputation is often undeserved. A half cup of store-bought granola on average contains 12 grams of sugar, with almost all of that being added sugar instead of the kind that can naturally be found in fruit.

  • #42. Quaker Oat Cinnamon Life

    - Per 100 grams: 374 cal, 25.18 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.067 grams / cal
    - Brand: Quaker

    Quaker's Cinnamon Life Cereal is a take on the original with the addition of cinnamon, but preserves the healthy whole grains Life Cereal is known for. One serving of Cinnamon Life contains 19 grams of whole grains, and 3 grams of protein. Sure, it has 8 grams of sugar, but a bowl will also get you 25% of your daily recommended intake of B-vitamins, zinc, riboflavin, and thiamin.

  • #41. Mother's Cinnamon Oat Crunch

    - Per 100 grams: 382 cal, 25.37 grams of sugar
    - Sugar / calorie: 0.066 grams / cal
    - Brand: Quaker

    Mother's Cinnamon Oat Crunch boasts a high amount of whole grain oats, but customers should keep in mind that the cereal is sweetened with both honey and molasses—and one serving contains 15 grams of sugar. However, the cereal is free of cholesterol and contains 3 grams of soluble fiber, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.