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Low-Sugar Cereals Win Nutrition Contest at Breakfast


When served low-sugar cereals, children are more likely to eat a nutritious, balanced breakfast – even if they add a little table sugar, a new study has found.

The study, “Effects of Serving High-Sugar Cereals on Children’s Breakfast-Eating Behavior,” published in the January 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online Dec. 13), measured what 91 children at a summer day camp ate when served either high-sugar or low-sugar cereals. All of the children were given their choice of either three high-sugar or three low-sugar cereals, as well as milk, orange juice, cut-up bananas and strawberries, and sugar packets. Children served themselves and answered a questionnaire after breakfast. Children who were offered high-sugar cereals and those offered low-sugar cereals both said they “liked” or “loved” the cereal they ate. Children in the high-sugar group ate larger portions of cereal, consuming almost twice as much refined sugar (24.4 grams) as children in the low-sugar group (12.5 grams) – despite the fact that children who ate low-sugar cereals added significantly more table sugar to their bowls. Children who ate low-sugar cereal consumed similar amounts of milk and total calories, and were more likely to put fresh fruit on their cereal.

Study authors conclude that children will eat low-sugar cereals, and parents can make these choices more appealing by adding a small amount of table sugar and/or fresh fruit. Such a strategy could help reduce the amount of added sugar in children’s diets.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit