Are 30% sugar cereal bars really a substitute for breakfast?
This month Which? investigated cereal bars and discovered that the majority don’t really deserve their healthy image. Most were high in sugar and many were also high in saturated fat.
We looked at 30 bars, bakes and breakfast biscuits from the best-selling brands and 16 of them contained 30% or more sugar. While some of the sugar came from fruit, which obviously provides nutritional benefits, lots of it came from added sugars. Only one of the bars we looked at, Nakd Apple pie contained no added sugars.
Just a spoonful of glucose, fructose, raw cane syrup…
It wasn’t always easy to see how much added sugar was in each bar as manufacturers tend to use several sources. In total we found 18 different forms of sugar and most bars contained at least a few. At a glance this can make the cereal bar appear healthier than it is, especially if you don’t know what to look for the ingredients list.
Forms of sugar we found included: glucose syrup, honey, golden syrup, raw cane syrup, oligofructose syrup and of course, plain old sugar.
What’s for your breakfast?
Many people think of them as a healthy snack and choose them over a couple of biscuits or a chocolate bar. And according to an article in The Guardian this week many people are shunning traditional breakfast cereals and replacing them with cereal bars and breakfast biscuits instead.
Apparently due to the recession and working longer hours we no longer have the time for the more traditional breakfast and instead have taken to eating breakfast in front of our computer screens.
Which? has always been critical of the high levels of sugar and until recently salt in traditional breakfast cereals but the levels in the cereal bars we looked at exceed these.
It looks like we’ve swapped cereals, some of which have dubious nutritional value, for cereal bars and biscuits whose nutritional value is even more questionable. What’s in your breakfast – would you be put off cereal bars knowing that they’re not as healthy as their packaging might suggest?
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