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Cereals Fatty?

October 14, 2011

So Britain’s children are getting fatter according to the latest stats that suggest 28% of 2-10 year olds are currently overweight. The Evening Standard’s Jackie Annesley thinks breakast cereal are to blame in a brutal attack on the industry this afternoon highlighting the sugar contents of the nation’s favourite cereals:

The foodies on Mumsnet call it crack for kids. Krave is the latest offering from Kellogg’s to persuade children to eat a breakfast that is 30 per cent pure sugar. The TV ads feature bouncing cereal shells gobbling up chocolate, while the packets entice you to play Krave Krusaders on Facebook. Children love it.

Which is obviously why no one at Kellogg’s is taking a blind bit of notice of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s Call to Action yesterday for the food industry to cut calories “in many products” as the country faces an obesity epidemic.

If he really wants to understand why 28 per cent of children aged two to 10 are overweight, Lansley might do well to wander around his local supermarket, not forgetting to check out the cereal aisle.

I did last night. If you are partial to death-by-chocolate at 7am, you really are spoiled for choice. Look, here are some Weetabix Minis Chocolate Chip (“built for family life”), and just 21 per cent sugar. And there are chocolate-flavoured Oats So Simple, only 14 times more sugar than boring old plain porridge. (There’s sweet cinammon flavour too!) And over there is Ready Brek – no longer central heating for kids but chocolate-flavoured and 21 per cent sugar, while Kellogg’s Coco Pops Choc’N’Roll has a big tick next to its claim of “9 per cent GDA of sugar” above a smiley face of a monkey. They forgot to mention that was for an active adult, not a three-year-old.

But the big daddy of them all is Choco Puffs, cousin of Sugar Puffs, which spawned the memorable Honey Monster’s “Tell them about the honey, Mummy” ad campaign. I suppose “Tell them about the 43.3 per cent sugar content, Mummy” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Why should we care? And if parents are idiotic enough to buy this stuff, why should the Government intervene? You only have to look at its bill for Type 2 diabetes, an obesity-driven epidemic, to find the answer. Treating it costs taxpayers £14 million a day, 10 per cent of the NHS’s entire budget.

Historically, governments are useless at protecting the public from damaging food industry claims. If you have a spare 58 minutes and really want to know why child cancers have been growing at up to 1.5 per cent a year for decades, check out a lecture on YouTube ( by Professor David Servan-Schreiber from Pittsburg University. Cancer cells feed only on glucose (sugar), and to explain the sudden spike in sugar consumption after the war the professor shows a classic American ad from the 1950s. “For a better start in life, start cola earlier” is written next to a picture of a mother and a chubby-faced baby, sponsored by The Soda Pop Board of America. At about the same time, cigarette manufacturers in Britain were still allowed to advertise the supposed health benefits of their product, free from warnings that nicotine could turn your lungs black and kill you. When lung cancer rates shot up and NHS bills mounted, government finally got a grip.

Soon it might just dawn on Lansley that allowing food manufacturers to sell children’s breakfast cereal with a 43 per cent sugar content is just as ruinous to the nation’s health, and equally unaffordable to the NHS.

I crave the day.

Click here to read more posts by Jackie Annesley.

Eaten Today

06.35 Toast
10.30 Banana x2
11.20 Chomp, Fudge, Nuts, Biscuits
13.50 Corned Beef Sandwich
20.55 Spicy Chicken Pasta

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