Parents are unwittingly feeding their children cereal which contains as much sugar as seven and a half chocolate fingers, according to health campaigners.
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Professor Graham MacGregor spoke at the FAB Research event in July 2014.
While cereals high in fibre and low in sugar and salt can be beneficial as part of a healthy diet, Action on Sugar fear that parents may be unaware that many products, including those marketed towards children, contain surprisingly high levels of sugar.
As many as 14 out of 50 cereals tested contained at least 33.3g of sugar per 100g - the equivalent of eight teaspoons.
The nation’s sugar intake has come under the spotlight recently, as the contributing factor to Britain’s escalating obesity epidemic and as well as raising the risk of tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
The study by Action on Sugar is a follow-up to a survey of the sugar content of cereals by Which? in 2012.
hree years on, campaigners are concerned that cereal manufacturers have made little attempt in tackling the issue – with certain products containing more sugar than before.
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said that children quickly become accustomed to the taste of high-sugar cereals, and soon find healthier options less palatable, leading to long-term effects on their health.
“One of the greatest failures in tackling Britain’s obesity epidemic is the governments’ appeasement of the food industry; we cannot allow this to go on any longer. The so-called ‘Responsibility Deal’, which allows the food industsry to regulate themselves (a likened to ‘Dracula being put in control of the blood bank’), has clearly failed. It’s time for it to be scrapped,” he said.