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Children's Health

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Low-Sugar Cereals Help Kids Eat Healthier

Children Who Ate Low-Sugar Cereals Ate Less and Were More Likely to Put Fresh Fruit on Their Cereal, Researchers Say

A Little Psychology With Breakfast Can Help continued...

According to the study, 54% of kids who ate low-sugar cereal added fresh fruit, but just 8% of those served high-sugar cereal did.

Children did not add more sugar to the low-sugar cereals than was already contained in the high-sugar cereals.

The study supports the notion that children will eat more refined sugar when served high-sugar cereals, even when they are allowed to add sugar to low-sugar cereals.

“This result suggests that a parent who is concerned that a child will not eat enough of a low-sugar cereal in the morning could provide a small amount of table sugar as well as fresh fruit for the child to add to the cereal,” the authors write. “This strategy would be preferable to purchasing a pre-sweetened high-sugar cereal that typically contains 2.5 or three teaspoons of sugar per serving.”

This approach also would give parents a chance to teach their children healthy strategies for increasing the appeal of low-sugar foods, such as adding sweet fruit like bananas of berries.

The findings “also demonstrate that serving low-sugar cereals can increase the overall nutritional quality of children’s breakfasts,” the authors say.

The authors warn that children who regularly eat a food with added sugar learn to prefer such foods, increasing their preference for sweeter cereals over time and possibly other sweeter foods in general.

The study, published online, will appear in print in the January 2011 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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