No Sugar Tonight – No Difference
Snipped from original story
Experts who reviewed the lower-sugar versions of six major brands of sweetened cereals at the request of The Associated Press found they have no significant nutritional advantages over their full-sugar counterparts.
Nutrition scientists at five universities found that while the new cereals do have less sugar, the calories, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and other nutrients are almost identical to the full-sugar cereals. That’s because the cereal makers have replaced sugar with refined carbohydrates to preserve the crunch.
Officials at General Mills, Kellogg’s and Post were unable to explain why the new cereals are a better choice, but noted they give consumers more options about how much sugar they eat.
Company officials said they were responding to parents’ demands for products with less sugar and that they aren’t claiming these cereals are any healthier than the originals.
That may not be obvious to consumers.
On some boxes, the lower-sugar claim is printed nearly as large as the product’s name, and only by carefully comparing the nutrition labels of both versions of a cereal would a shopper know there is little difference between them.
“You’re supposed to think it’s healthy,” said Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University and author of a book critical of the food industry’s influence on public health. “This is about marketing. It is about nothing else. It is not about kids’ health.”
Only one cereal, General Mills’ Cinnamon Toast Crunch, saw a true calorie reduction, dropping from 130 calories to 120 per three-fourths cup serving.
The reduced-sugar versions of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops; General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs and Trix; and Post’s Fruity Pebbles all have the same number of calories per serving.
Blame the calorie woes on crunch. To preserve cereals’ taste and texture, sugar is replaced with other carbs that have the same calories as sugar and are no better for you.