Some of the unhealthiest cereals contain more sugar than they did in 2012, with children eating up to the equivalent of seven and a half Cadbury fingers for breakfast, according to a charity.
Action on Sugar said manufacturers claim to be improving the health of the nation’s breakfast, but 14 out of 50 cereals tested contained at least 33.3g of sugar, or eight teaspoons, per 100g.
The charity revisited the 2012 Which? breakfast cereal report, which listed the five cereals containing the highest amounts of sugar.
It found Aldi’s Harvest Morn Choco Rice contained 39g of sugar per 100g, or the equivalent of three teaspoons of sugar or seven and a half Cadbury Fingers – up from 33g in 2012, or an 18% increase.
Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and Frosties products contained the same amount of sugar as they did in 2012, at 35g and 37g per 100g respectively.
Some of the largest reductions in sugar content included Aldi’s Harvest Morn Crunchy Honey Nut Cornflakes, with a 19% reduction from 34.4g to 28g per 100g, and Honey Monster Puffs, previously known as Sugar Puffs, with a 17% reduction from 35g to 29g.
Action on Sugar said manufacturers had made notable achievements in reducing the salt content of cereals since 2012.
Chairman Graham MacGregor said: “Children quickly become used to the taste of high-sugar cereals and find healthier ones less palatable, which has long-term implications on their health.
“Eating too much sugar leads to weight gain, raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
“One of the greatest failures in tackling Britain’s obesity epidemic is the Government’s appeasement of the food industry. We cannot allow this to go on any longer.
“The so-called Responsibility Deal, which allows the food industry to regulate themselves, has clearly failed. It’s time for it to be scrapped.”
The charity’s nutritionist, Kawther Hashem, said: “You wouldn’t give your child chocolate biscuits for breakfast, yet certain manufacturers are effectively doing that for us.
“It is highly concerning that many parents are still buying cereal products for their children thinking they are choosing healthier products only to find these items are laden with excess sugar and calories.
“We urge parents to make more informed food switches such as choosing wholegrain breakfast cereals but not those coated with sugar or honey. Adding fresh fruit to cereal can make it more appealing and also increase its nutritional value.”