Nutritionist Lucy Hyland

Cereal Bars uncovered: Are cereal bars healthy?

May 2, 2012
Posted by Lucy

Are cereal bars healthy?

I was just down in my local supermarket doing research for a school tomorrow. I was looking specifically at sugar in cereal and snack bars. I often get asked the question "Are cereal bars healthy?"

These are a great convenient options for people, especially for kids with lunch boxes, but the results aren't great. the sugar content of the bars varied greatly, from 5 -15 g of sugar per bar. Of course, the size of the bar also varied - some with one large bar others with two smaller bars in a pack.

It can get complicated looking at cereal bars so here are some tips:

Read the ingredients - how much wholegrain is in the bar? for example. oats, brown rice, whole wheat flour are all whole grains.

Read the sugar content. 4 g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. I find this visual aid great.

Do you understand the ingredients listed in bar. If half the bar is filled with terms you don't understand - can you find a bar with a simpler list of ingredients.

Content of sugar in Snack/Cereal bars

American Heart Assoc recommends: added sugar intake for

women is 5 tsp / 20 g,

men 9 tsp / 36 g

Children 3 tsp / 12 g daily

Some of these bars will use up your child's added sugar allowance for the day. However, if your child drinks soft drinks or fruit juices, like sugar cereals, drinks sugary yogurt drink, they could go well over their allowed limit.

Its not about one products sugar content, but rather the accumulation of a number of products over the course of a day.

Snack Bar Carbohydrates (grams) Of which sugars Tsp of sugar (4g per tsp)
Kellogs Squares (28g bar) 21g 9g Just over 2 tsp
Kellogs Chocolate and Caramel Squares (36g bar) 27g 14g 3 ½ tsp
Kellogs Frosties (25g bar) 18g 8g 2 tsp
Kellogs Rice Krispies bar (20g bar) 14g 7g Just under 2
Kellogs coco pops bar (20g) 14g 8g 2 tsp
Kellogs Fruit Winders (per roll) 13g 6g 1 ½ tsp
Kellogs Pop Tarts (50g bar) 35g 16g 4 tsp
Carmans Apricot (45g bar) 23g 5g Just over 1 tsp
Go Ahead yogurt breaks (per slice) 13g 7.1g Just under 2 tsp
Mrs Crumbles Caramel rice cakes (per pack) 30g 9g Just over 2 tsp
Weight Watchers Fruit Crumbles (22.5 g bar) 15.4g 10.2 2 ½ tsp

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