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Breakfast Cereal: Is It Healthy Or Not? Parents, Researchers Have Different Opinions

Update Date: Jan 06, 2017 08:30 PM EST

Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are popular because they are convenient and most parents think they are healthy. However, only the ones made from whole grains and packed with low sugar can make a healthy and balanced breakfast especially when served with fruits or vegetables.

A recent research from Public Health England (PHE) showed that children already take in excessive sugar even before they go to school. The sources of this sugary diet mostly come from breakfast cereals, drinks and spreads.

At the end of the day, the children have already consumed more than three times the healthy limit. A four to six year old child should only take five cubes (19 grams) of sugar a day, while a seven to 10 year old should only have a maximum of six cubes (24 grams).

A healthy breakfast cereal is loaded with vitamins and minerals to help meet the child's daily requirements. Consumers are encouraged to look for the box with no less than three grams of fiber and up to eight grams of sugar.

CNN's list of healthy cereals includes Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Flakes and Barbara's Cinnamon Puffins. Brands that have high amount of sugar, low protein and zero fiber can cause a rise in the blood sugar that crashes just at lunch time.

Researchers found out that eight out of 10 parents think that their children's breakfast cereal is healthy. If parents continuously do not check the labels, this could lead to kids having a higher risk in developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer in the future.

Sara Stanner, director at the British Nutrition Foundation, is concerned to see high amount of sugar and low amount of fiber in breakfast cereals, drinks and snacks. She believes that a "healthy breakfast can make an important contribution to children's vitamin and mineral intakes and its consumption has been linked to many positive health outcomes."

More than one out of five children is already considered obese when they start primary school. Parents are, therefore, encouraged to check the nutritional facts of breakfast cereals they give to their children.

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