The Kellogg Company is pushing its updated research compendium spanning scientific research that plugs the health benefits of cereals as a breakfast choice.
The updated research compendium ‘Cereal: The Complete Story’ is intended to “give people the facts on this nutritious breakfast food” the firm said.
Christine Lowry, vice president of Global Nutrition Marketing for Kellogg, said that the research “reinforces the nutrition, value, convenience and great taste of cereal.”
“We rely heavily on this growing body of research to shape our own direction and make it clear that cereal is an ideal breakfast choice,” Lowry said.
The research cited science that suggests cereal consumption can ‘help reduce disease risk factors’, ‘may help promote future health’ and ‘enhances general well-being’.
Sugar and sodium content of cereals are covered along with the relationship of consumption and Body Mass Index (BMI) and it also looked at the fibre content and benefits of eating cereal, particularly for children.
The Kellogg’s research indicated that a diet including cereal can improve nutrient intake and help maintain health weights, stating that children who eat cereal regularly tend to have lower BMIs than those who skip breakfast; “ a relationship that holds regardless of the amount of sugar in the cereal.”
It cited research suggesting children between 6-17 that eat ready-to-eat cereal weigh less and have smaller waist circumferences than those who skip breakfasts or choose alternative foods.
Kellogg’s detailed fibre as the “most beneficial nutrients in cereal grains,” and included science that links fibre intake to reduced lifestyle-related diseases, such as colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes.
The firm said it is “committed to providing great-tasting products that deliver the benefits of dietary fibre in convenient, nutrient-dense cereals that appeal to everyone.”
The sugar debate…
Sugar content in cereal has seen science being pushed both ways from various sectors of the industry and public health organisations.
In Kellogg’s research collection, under a headline ‘The facts on breakfast cereals’, it said “there has been a lot of misinformation communicated about breakfast cereals” and includes a list of ‘evidence-based facts’ about sugar and sodium content in ready-to-eat cereals.
The US giant said that cereal as a breakfast choice is lower in calories, sodium and sugar when compared to other breakfast choices, and that “the amount of sugar contributed to the average diet from ready-to-eat cereal is small,” citing it equates to around 4% of daily added sugar intake in the US and Australia.
In one serving of Kellogg’s Cornflakes there are 3g of sugar, Special K (2-10g), Rice Krispies (4g), Frosted Mini-Wheats (12g) and Froot Loops (12g).
However, a report published in December 2011 from the public health non-profit organisation Environment Working Group (EWG), suggested that some popular kids’ cereals contain high levels of sugar, at times more than or the equivalent to cookies and biscuits.
Proposals for voluntary national advertising standards across the US were put forward in early 2011 by an Interagency Working Group recommending that cereals containing more than 13g of sugar per serving (24-26% sugar by weight) should not be advertised to children.
Kellogg pointed at
The report pulled up Kellogg’s Honey Smacks with 55.6% sugar as having the highest content in those assessed, with Froot Loops Marshmallow also high at 48.3% sugar.
But at the time Kellogg’s took issue with the report and in an emailed statement to sister site FoodNavigator-USA Dr. Lisa Sutherland, vice president of Nutrition at Kellogg said: “Kellogg has reduced the sugar across our US kids’ cereals by approximately 16%. Today, our most popular kids’ cereals have 1 to 12 grams of sugar – and many are also a good source of fibre and have 8 grams or more of whole grains.” She also added that the Honey Smacks were not marketed to children.
In March this year, action was taken against Kellogg by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over claims on its Coco Pops website that suggested sugar was unconnected to obesity, disease development and behavioural problems in children. The agency ordered the US cereal firm to revise its claims and the section headed ‘Sugar & Health’ has since been entirely removed from the website.
Marion Nestle, NYU nutrition professor, cited in a statement released by the, said: “Cereal companies have spent fortunes on convincing parents that a kid’s breakfast means cereal, and that sugary cereals are fun, benign, and all kids will eat… No public health agency has anywhere near the education budget equivalent to that spend on a single cereal. Kids should not be eating sugar for breakfast. They should be eating real food.”