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General Mills to Cut Sugar in Kids' Cereals
Date:12/9/2009

Food maker responds to calls for more nutritious breakfast food

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Good news for health-conscious parents: General Mills plans to further cut the amount of sugar in the cereals it markets to children under 12.

The Minneapolis-based company, the maker of such cereals as Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, announced Wednesday that it will reduce the sugar content in 10 of its products to less than 11 grams, following up on product modifications begun two years ago.

"Our first target was to reduce sugar in cereals advertised to children to 12 grams of sugar or less," Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills' Big G cereal division, said in a prepared statement.

"As a result, we have already reduced sugar in many cereals, some by as much as 20 percent, and by spring General Mills cereals advertised to children will all have 11 grams of sugar per serving or less," he said.

The move is part of an industry-wide response to complaints from consumers, health groups and federal regulators about the nutritional content of foods aimed at U.S. children, who are becoming increasingly overweight and obese, putting them at risk for a variety of health problems, including diabetes. Health experts worry that added sugar contributes to weight gain without providing any nutritional benefit.

"The reduction ... doesn't represent perfection but it represents improvement," Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, told the Associated Press. "Children deserve to be marketed products that are healthier to them than what is being marketed now," Brownell added.

According to General Mills, the product changes are not a response to criticism, but rather an attempt to make its products healthier. Other steps include increasing whole grain and nutrients in its cereals. Every Big G cereal now provides 8 grams of whole grain per ser
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