Everyone has heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. However, could what you actually eat for breakfast have an influence on this? Today, many kids eat sugar laden cereals for breakfast. Could this excessive sugar consumption be counteracting the health benefits of breakfast and instead turning it into a detriment?
In a study done by the Environmental Working Group, it was found that sugary cereals, packaged as a part of a “healthy breakfast”, can contain upwards of 50% sugar by weight. This is more sugar per serving than Twinkies or 3 chocolate chip cookies. This high level of sugar can be detrimental to the biology of your body, especially at breakfast. When you consume this much sugar in your first meal, blood sugar spikes, then drops, signaling your brain that you need more sugar. This can lead to a vicious cycle throughout the day of blood sugar highs and lows, which effect energy levels, concentration, and lead to the consumption of other sugary foods.
From 1970-2005, American sugar consumption increased by 19%. This increase has show correlation to increased weight gain, heart disease, and other adverse health effects. This increase in sugar can be attributed to the rise of sugary cereals, among other things. These added sugars add up to an additional 355 calories per day in a person’s diet, while the American Heart Association reports additional calories due to sugar should not exceed 100-150 calories per day.
Furthermore, a study done in 2010 reported that kids, on average consume more sugary cereal than nutritional cereal, further increasing the negative results. However, the silver lining on this report was the fact that they found children were just as likely to report satisfaction with nutritional cereal as they were with sugary cereal. In addition, they were more likely to put fresh fruit on nutritional cereal, further benefiting the nutritional value. The conclusion the report came to is that children will consume low-sugar cereals when they are provided them, and the health benefits of these cereals when compared to consumption of high sugar cereals was immense.
In conclusion, it is clear that having sugary cereal, especially for breakfast has hugely negative health implication. It causes an unstable fluctuation in blood sugar levels, and is correlated with weight gain and other inverse health effects. Furthermore, there is no reason to serve children these sugary cereals. Children have reported equal satisfaction with low-sugar cereals, all while consuming less cereal and adding fresh fruit, only furthering the health benefits. With all of these taken into consideration, there is really no reason to further the trend of sugary cereal consumption, as it only provides negative health implication and Americans should take steps to avoid providing these cereals to their children if they truly value their children’s health.