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Foodwatch: Too much sugar in breakfast cereals makes children fat and sick
Most parents want to feed their children healthy. In the morning, this includes breakfast cereals in many families. The consumer protection organization "Foodwatch" examined numerous breakfast cereals from various food manufacturers and came to the conclusion that the sugar content in almost all varieties is far too high. Given the results of the study, there can be no talk of healthy breakfast cereals, ”said the consumer advocate. "Legislators must take action and set a legally required sugar percentage for children's floks."
Cookie Crisp, Smacks and Co .: The colorful packs of children's breakfast cereal are stacked in the supermarket. All of them advertise with a flashy presentation, healthy ingredients, vitamins and toys. Especially on school days, things have to be done quickly in the morning. "Open the bag, put cornflakes in the bowl and milk over it," reports Gesa Meyer from Berlin. "After all, the flakes are full of vitamins and my children prefer to eat them than bread or fruit," says the mother of three children.
Something like this happens in hundreds of thousands of families in Germany in the morning. Many parents are happy that it is quick on a stressful morning and so far the breakfast cereal has not been suspected of causing any particular damage to children's health. Rather, many manufacturers advertise with "valuable ingredients" and "whole grain portions" are also increasingly found in the flakes. But Foodwatch’s nutrition experts see it completely differently. During a “brand check” it turned out that almost all of the breakfast flakes contain too much sugar and thus promote diseases such as obesity, tooth decay or diabetes.
30 percent sugar in every second variety
For the study, the initiative examined a total of 143 flakes from various food companies. The overwhelming majority of manufacturers campaigned for the children's favor with a colorful presentation of the packaging. The result: "Every second pack contains at least 30 percent sugar," write the study authors from Foodwatch. Four out of five of the cornflakes still had a sugar content of over 20 percent. A mere six percent of the products tested showed a sugar content of less than ten percent.
"Breakfast cereals for children are usually simply sweets with a cereal coating," warns Foodwatch spokesman Oliver Huizinga. Foodwatch has criticized Foodwatch for making a balanced mix of flour and sugar out of a "balanced foodstuff". “Many flakes are sugary than cakes or chocolate chip cookies. So-called cereals for children are one thing above all: sweets with a cereal coating and not a suitable breakfast for children. "
Cheap sugar and high profits
For the manufacturers, the “flakes with the cheap ingredient sugar are a profitable business”. The health effects of children, however, are "fatal". More than 15 percent of children in Germany are considered overweight, six percent already suffer from obesity (obesity).
Not only the flakes from brand manufacturers such as Nestle´ or Kelloggs did poorly in the study, but also cheap products from the own brands of supermarkets and discounters. Critical parents therefore prefer organic products. But here, too, almost 60 percent of the breakfast cereals tested attracted negative attention because they also had a sugar content of over 20 percent. However, some organic brands showed that it is also possible to “offer balanced breakfast cereals for children with less than ten percent sugar,” the initiative said.
Legal limits for children's breakfast cereals are required
In view of the study results, the consumer organization demands “clear legal minimum requirements for children's breakfast cereals”. Only products with a maximum sugar content of 10 percent should be marketed for children only. This would require “a sugar limit that is set by law. "Because the manufacturers will not stop on their own to bait children with a high sugar content".
In response to Foodwatch's criticism, Nestlé boss Gerhard Berssenbrügge replied: "I can reassure you: our breakfast cereals are not sweets, but a wholesome start to the day." entire Nestlé range that contains less than 30 percent sugar. "Even chocolate biscuits and cakes are more balanced," says Foodwatch.
Consumer advocates have launched an email campaign and are calling on all parents to participate. The food company Nestlé should be asked to "live up to its responsibility as one of the largest manufacturers and no longer advertise sugar bombs as being suitable for children." (Sb)
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