Count Chocula’s New Year’s Resolution

image via Serious Play for Serious Girls


Beginning next year, General Mills will be limiting the sugar in its children’s cereals to no more than 10 grams per serving.
10 grams is 3½ teaspoons of sugar, representing one-third by weight of the serving. Even so, this is no easy feat for the maker of Trix, Lucky Charms, and Count Chocula.
But it is also just a smoke screen obscuring the real issue of unethical marketing to children.

Make sure you start every morning off right with a tasty bowl of deliciousness!

Give your kids more of what they need to be their best.

-Lucky Charms, back of the box

The interesting thing is that kids really aren’t so cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. A new study published in the current Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that they don’t actually prefer sugary cereals. In the study of children ages 5-12, there was no difference in taste preference shown for sweeter cereals. The low-sugar group (even when given free rein with a sugar bowl) was more likely to get their sweet fix by consuming more fruit and juice with their breakfast, while the high-sugar group just loaded up on more cereal. Both groups ended up consuming the same amount of calories from very different nutritional profiles.

General Mills is committed to maintaining the highest standards for responsible  advertising to children. General Mills will pledge to only advertise Healthy Dietary Choices to children under 12. General Mills will not target any advertising to preschool children.

-Pledge to The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

According to Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, the average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads per year on television. Cereals marketed directly to children have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber, twice the artificial food dyes, and 60 percent more sodium than cereals marketed to adults. In other words, the least healthy cereals are the ones most aggressively marketed. So much for General Mills’ pledge.

Make your own New Year’s resolution.
Read labels, and aim for brands that have, per serving:

  • No more than 6 grams of sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • At least 3 grams of fiber
  • No artificial food dyes

Read the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary, self-regulation program formed by the Better Business Bureau and many of the nation’s largest food and beverage processors. General Mills is a charter member.

Cereal Facts rates the nutritional quality and marketing practices of all major cereal brands.


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3 Responses to Count Chocula’s New Year’s Resolution

  1. I don’t understand about sugary cereals. In my country are, but it’s not very common the consumption.
    Why need you to add sugar and additives? You can eat a bowl of mixed raw-cereals more yogurt, and it’s healthy plus tasty for kids.



  2. “maintaining the highest standards for responsible advertising to children” Why, oh why do they say such hollow things? I think owning a statement like this is WORSE than the health standards of the sweet cereals. I grew up on sugary cereals and turned out okay. Not a supporter of them and don’t advocate them in my house but it’s statements like these that boil my blood.

  3. Monet says:

    It is a shame to think about how much sugar they put in children’s cereal. I know that my niece and nephew actually prefer simple, unsweetened cheerios…and I know that is what I loved growing up. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a wonderful day!

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