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Kids Not So Stuck on Sugary Breakfast Cereals, Study Finds
Date:12/13/2010

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Getting kids to happily eat nutritious, low-sugar breakfast cereals may be child's play, researchers report.

A new study finds that children will gladly chow down on low-sugar cereals if they're given a selection of choices at breakfast, and many compensate for any missing sweetness by opting for fruit instead.

The 5-to-12-year-olds in the study still ate about the same amount of calories regardless of whether they were allowed to choose from cereals high in sugar or a low-sugar selection. However, the kids weren't inherently opposed to healthier cereals, the researchers found.

"Don't be scared that your child is going to refuse to eat breakfast. The kids will eat it," said study co-author Marlene B. Schwartz, deputy director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Nutritionists have long frowned on sugary breakfast cereals that are heavily marketed by cereal makers and gobbled up by kids. In 2008, Consumer Reports analyzed cereals marketed to kids and found that each serving of 11 leading brands had about as much sugar as a glazed donut. The magazine also reported that two cereals were more than half sugar by weight and nine others were at least 40 percent sugar.

This week, food giant General Mills announced that it is reducing the sugar levels in its cereals geared toward children, although they'll still have much more sugar than many adult cereals.

In the meantime, many parents believe that if cereals aren't loaded with sweetness, kids won't eat them.

But is that true? In the new study, researchers offered different breakfast cereal choices to 91 urban children who took part in a summer day camp program in New England. Most were from minorities families and about 60 percent were Spanish-speaking.

Of the kids, 46 were allowed to choose from one of three high-sugar cereals: Fro
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