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The Ten Worst Kid's Cereals!

Come on people!  The time has come for grown-ups to stop walking around in a fog thinking that if a company advertises something on TV then it must not be too bad for you.  Wake up.  The huge corporations that bring us all the nice, colorful kid's cereals are NOT concerned about our health. They are in business for a profit.  They have bean-counters who tell them just how crappy their product can be before people start to sue them.

Not long ago I saw an over-weight 30-something fellow in the clinic and I was going over the usual info and guidelines to start to turn his life around.  His blood pressure was already starting to creep up, and he had no energy most days.  I asked him what he had for breakfast that morning,  he looked me in the eye and with a straight face said, "Reese's Puffs, why?"

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After quietly counting to 10, I explained to him that breakfast cereals in general, and kid's cereals specifically, are a terrible pseudo-food, and probably the cause of his daily fatigue.  He looked as if he thought I was pulling his leg, and then said, "Com'on doc, if it was that bad, they wouldn't let them sell it.  Besides, they're good!"  I just didn't have time that day to explain to him that the they he thought was protecting him from them, was owned by them.

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I can understand why children think that whatever appears on TV is the gospel, but I just don't get why many adults feel the same way too.  I will admit that when I was a kid I truly believed that Cheerios would make me stronger, and Frosted Flakes would make me a better basketball player.  But, I grew up; I thought we all had.  I guess not.  Anyway, let's look at just how bad kid's cereals are.

The best kid's cereals are 1/3 sugar; the worst are over 50% sugar.  You see, they have a sneaky way of not having sugar as their first ingredient; they divide it up and call it by different names.  For example, a cereal may have sugar, corn syrup, corn starch solids, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup and molasses.  These are ALL sugar and if the company were forced to group these sorts of things together, then most cereals would have sugar as their number one ingredient.  You can find  a great breakdown of cereal nutrition (or lack thereof) here.

According to the nice folks at Yale, here are the Worst Kid's Cereals on the Planet:

  1. Reese's Puffs
  2. Corn Pops
  3. Lucky Charms
  4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  5. Cap'n Crunch
  6. Trix
  7. Froot Loops
  8. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles
  9. Cocoa Puffs
  10. Cookie Crisp

The nutritional value of all 10 is terrible and you should never buy a single one of them again.  Childhood is the most important growth time in a person's life, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day; please don't let one of these 10 go into your child's mouth again while they are trying to grow up.  Folks on a budget might say cereal is a cheap way to feed their kids, and I'd agree.  Of course, picking up some dead leaves from your yard and sprinkling on some sugar would also be cheap (and probably more healthy!)

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The companies behind this top 10 hall of shame spend billions advertising to your kids on TV and also Online.  Now ask yourself this; 'If their product was nutritious, wouldn't they be advertising it to the parent instead?'  More experts are starting to think that it might be this huge amount of sugar kids get each morning that leads to things like ADHD; and don't even get me started about the obesity epidemic.

It's probably a rule that anytime a food is marketed directly to kids it is unhealthy.  Yeah, I think that's a rule.  Unless your kids do the grocery shopping, then we know who's responsible for bringing this crap into your house, now don't we?  Stop it.  There are quick, healthy ways to start your kids day that don't involve opening a cardboard box.

How about a Berry Smoothie?  Remember eggs?  Eggs and turkey sausage are easy make a great breakfast that will really have their brains working all day long.  Food is the most important thing you put inside your kids body; an adult should decide what goes inside the 6 year-old, not the 6 year-old!  Yale actually found that kids will happily eat breakfasts much lower in sugar if they are provided with options.

Dr. Josh Axe, a DC from Nashville, has a pretty good video exposing kid's cereals here.  There are many different alternatives that are just as inexpensive as kid's cereal, and almost as easy to prepare; you just gotta look for them.  Every day we, as parents, are setting examples for our kids and helping them make good choices; let's make sure we're doing the best we can...

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