If you're feeding your kids Honey Smacks or Apple Jacks for breakfast you might as well just give them a chocolate chip cookie or Twinkie, according to results from a nutritional analysis of kids' cereals.
The Environmental Working Group analyzed 84 cereals and found many contain as much or more sugar than many desserts. The worst culprit was Kellogg's Honey Smacks. A one-cup serving packs 20 grams of sugar, more than a Hostess Twinkie, which has 18 grams of sugar. Post Golden Crisps and General Mills Wheaties Fuel also have more sugar than a Twinkie, according to the analysis.
The group said sugary breakfast choices can be troublesome. It cited studies that have found that children who eat high-sugar breakfasts have more problems at school. They become more frustrated and have a harder time working independently than kids who eat lower-sugar breakfasts. By lunchtime, they have less energy, are hungrier, show attention deficits and make more mistakes on their work.
Some laboratory studies have also found that sugar is habit-forming, stimulating the same brain responses as opiates, the Environmenal Working Group found.
These are the worst cereals, and their percent sugar by weight, according to the analysis:
1. Kellogg's Honey Smacks: 55.6 percent
2. Post Golden Crisp: 51.9 percent
3. Kellogg's Froot Loops Marshmallow: 48.3 percent
4. Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch's OOPS! All Berries: 46.9 percent
5. Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch Original: 44.4 percent
6. Quaker Oats Oh!s: 44.4 percent
7. Kellogg's Smorz: 43.3 percent
8. Kellogg's Apple Jacks: 42.9 percent
9. Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries: 42.3 percent
10. Kellogg's Froot Loops Original: 41.4 percent
The Environmental Working Group recommends nutritional breakfast alternatives, such as eggs, fruit smoothies or oatmeal.