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Surprise Sugars: How much sugar is hiding in that breakfast cereal?

Surprise Sugars: How much sugar is hiding in that breakfast cereal?

Dental Health Week 2020- August 3rd - 9th

Navigating the cereal aisle and trying to choose a healthy cereal can be a confusing process. A simple walk down the cereal aisle reveals hundreds of bright colourful boxes bursting from the shelves with various food claims that often leave consumers feeling confused or misled.

Many people feel they are doing the right thing starting their day with a nutritious and satisfying option like cereal, however, some breakfast cereals contain more sugar than a slice of cake or a few sweet biscuits. High intakes of added sugars have been linked to weight gain, an increased risk of insulin resistance, type two diabetes, fatty liver disease, inflammation, heart disease and tooth decay.

What can I do to prevent getting tooth decay from sugar?

One of the key things you can do to promote good dental health and prevent tooth decay is consume a healthy diet. Tooth decay is a common and largely preventable problem among Australian’s and occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and sugars forms on our teeth. The bacteria in plaque use sugars in food and drinks to produce acids which attack the teeth. This can result in holes in the protective layer of your teeth called enamel, leading to tooth decay.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommend adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 per cent or roughly 25 grams (six teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. The less added sugar we consume the better.

For Dental Health Week (3rd- 9th August) local leading dental practice, Warnervale Dental combined forces with Eatsense, Accredited Practising Dietitians with sites across the Central Coast to share valuable insights into just how much sugar is hiding in breakfast cereal and for top tips for choosing a healthy breakfast cereal.

Do you know how much sugar your breakfast cereal contains?

Check out some popular options below for a comparison of how much hidden sugar is in one cup.

  • 2 x weetbix: 0.2 teaspoons of sugar (1g sugar)
  • 1 cup cocoa pops: 3.6 teaspoons of sugar (16.4g sugar)
  • 1 cup Carman’s Natural 5 grain porridge: 0.4 teaspoons of sugar (1.4g sugar)
  • 1 cup Nutrigrain: 2.8 teaspoons of sugar (12.8g sugar)
  • 1 cup Uncle Toby’s Antioxidant Plus: 2.1 teaspoons of sugar (8.4g sugar)
  • 1 cup Crunchy Nut:  5.5 teaspoons of sugar (22.2g of sugar)
  • 1 cup Carman’s fruit free muesli: 1 teaspoon sugar ( 3.6g sugar)
  • 1 cup whole-grain cheerios: 1 teaspoon sugar (4.4g of sugar)
  • 1 cup Jordans Cluster Bites Honey & Nut: 2.2 teaspoons sugar (10g of sugar)

Reading and understanding a nutrition panel can be challenging as it shows the cereal’s sugar content in grams as a total. However, the sugar in cereals can come from many different ingredients such as natural sugars from dried fruit or ordinary cane sugar. Unfortunately, the nutrition panel does not distinguish between natural sugars and added sugars, so it is important to look at the ingredient list.

If sugar is one of the first three ingredients on that list, then the cereal is less likely to be a healthy choice.

Our top tips for choosing a healthy breakfast cereal include:

  • Opt for plain porridge, rolled oats, natural unsweetened muesli, or bran flakes, and sweeten with fresh fruit
  • Opt for a natural muesli or fruit free muesli instead of a sweetened granola
  • Avoid cereal, muesli or granola that has sugar listed as one of the top three ingredients
  • Look for cereals that have less 10g of added sugars per 100g
  • Opt for varieties with a higher amount of fibre

Everything you eat and drink can have a major effect on the health of your teeth and gums. Tooth decay is a diet-related disease that commonly develops in response to our consumption of sugar which is why understanding sugar content is so important.

If you are concerned about your oral health or nutritional requirements, please contact a trusted health professional.

So, put the health of your smile at the top of your “to do” list this Dental Health Week and watch out for those surprise sugars!

For more information visit: Warnervale Dental and Eatsense