|Time to calm down about kids’ breakfast cereal|
|Wednesday, 04 January 2012|
Breakfast cereals designed for kids have endured tomes of bad press, targeted by the food police as "sugar-salt laden food deserts/desserts" and who'd have us believe they have less nourishment than the box they're packaged in. This reputation is entirely undeserved, counters a leading American paediatrician, Dr Keith Ayoob, whose nutrition articles in USA Today are being acclaimed as a "breath of fresh air" by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). There’s no need to run from breakfast cereals, nor from food restaurants, believes Ayoob.
Ayoob is a dietitian and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. In his most recent column in USA Today, he addresses what has become a common concern among parents: whether the breakfast cereals their children eat contain too much sugar. But this is one thing that a parent needn’t worry about, says Ayoob, noting that the sugar content of these products has actually decreased significantly over the years.
An average serving these days has about 10 grams of sugar — about the same amount you’d find in a packet you'd use to sweeten a cup of coffee. And despite the bad press that kids' cereals have recently received, such breakfast fare is decidedly not the cause of the obesity epidemic; in fact, it’s a great source of whole grains and a good way to sneak both low-fat milk and fresh fruit into a child’s diet. Many Americans, Ayoob says, don’t eat nearly enough of these things — yet the kids who do eat cereal on a regular basis tend to have healthier weights and better diets in general.
Time to calm down about kids’ breakfast cereal
Parents and patients alike ask me all the time about breakfast cereal. They've heard this doctor or that food activist talk about sugar-sweetened cereals contributing to, or even being responsible for, childhood obesity. They think a cereal with sugar automatically can't be any good. I would differ with them -- let's have a closer look at why.
There's a big push in the cereal world to do two things: Load cereal with more whole grain and gradually reduce the sugar content. Both are worthy actions.....
USA Today: Read more
Banning toys in Happy Meals won’t change childhood obesity
The city council in San Francisco recently banned restaurants such as McDonald's from including toy giveaways in Happy Meal-type kids' menu items, in an attempt to thwart the rise of childhood obesity.
Nice try, but this policy isn't likely to have much of an effect, and here's why:
The Happy Meal of today is not the one of yesteryear. A Happy Meal of McNuggets, a kids' fries, low-fat milk and apple dippers is only 430 calories. Most kids actually need more calories than that for a meal! You could up the calories a bit with some low-fat chocolate milk and you're still up to only 500 calories. That's about right for a child who is of "Happy Meal" age.....
USA Today: Read more