The hidden health risks in your breakfast – Dr Nighat issues warning – worst culprits

Dr Nighat warns of high sugar content in children's cereals

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Breakfast cereals that are marketed at children are often colourful and creative, with a keen emphasis on their nutritional benefits. However, a new survey paints a more sinister picture of the breakfast cereal market. This Morning’s Dr Nighat summed up the report’s findings: “Cereals have high amount of sugar, high amount of salt and not much fibre.”

Campaigners from Action On Sugar and Action On Salt found a whopping 92 percent of cereals with packaging featuring child-friendly images contain high or medium amounts of sugar.

That markers one percent rise from last year, despite major manufacturers vowing to clean up their act and improve the health content of their products.

The Food Foundation’s Broken Plate report found that almost half (43 percent) of these kids’ cereals contained chocolate.

One of the worst culprits were Malt-O-Meal Marshmallow Mateys – containing 12g of sugar per bowl – the equivalent of eating five and a half biscuits for breakfast.

The shocking revelations have prompted Action On Sugar to call for these products to be recalled from the breakfast cereal aisle and placed with other confectionery instead, to highlight that these dishes are more of a “treat” than a nutritious breakfast option.

It’s not just the sugar content that’s raising alarm bells.

There’s quite a bit of salt in these cereals, too.

Around 60 percent of the products tested were medium or high in salt.

The nutritional content is left wanting too – 45 percent of the cereals were low in fibre – up from 38 percent in 2020.

Campaigners are now urging all cereal manufacturers to commit to removing child-friendly images from the packaging of unhealthy products in a bid to stop enticing kids.

Nutritionist Dr Kawther Hashem, campaign lead at Action on Sugar, said: “The use of child-friendly packaging just makes it hard for parents to make a healthier choice, when companies should be making it easier.

“Whilst we are expecting to see restrictions on online and television advertising for foods high in fat, salt, and sugar, this does not yet apply to the packaging that may appeal to children, which is a huge concern.”

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