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Monday, March 21, 2005

A cereal problem

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. Makers have just replaced sugar with refined carbohydrates to preserve the crunch.

No surprise there. It's simple fact. Simple sugars and complex carbohydrates both have 4 Calories per gram.

Up until about 15 years ago, when nutrition labels were changed to be more readable (and portion sizes were revised to be more reasonable), all cereals had a serving size of one ounce listed in their nutritional information. As a result, almost all cereals, from boring cornflakes to the super-sugary Sugar Smacks (I mean Honey Smacks) (oops, I mean Smacks) had 110 Calories (28 grams per ounce, 4 Calories per gram, rounded to the nearest 5). The exceptions were cereals with high fiber (not absorbed, and so no calories), and cereals with raisins (part of their weight was moisture).


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