These are the unhealthiest cereals for your kids

 ·27 Nov 2015

Cereals have become a staple for kids, teenagers, varsity students and adults in the mornings, thanks to the ease of preparation and delicious taste.

There are a wide variety of cereals available in South Africa, with most options being marketed with a mascot – from Coco the Monkey to Tony the Tiger, these characters take specific aim at children.

The biggest make-up of cereal is carbohydrates, meaning that it is unsuitable for low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) or Banting diets, which have gained prominence in recent years.

And despite claims of high vitamins, iron and minerals, most cereals pack in more sugar than anything else.

Sugar has been dubbed the food villain of our time – the sweet poison – and has been linked to heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity in both adults and children.

Boston-based Tufts University recently published research which found that sugar – sugary drinks in particular – may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year globally.

BusinessTech investigated childrens’ favourite breakfast treats to see which pack the biggest sugary punch.

The cereals listed below are ranked according to their sugar content, which is used as the basis to determine the least healthy option. Cereals such as All-bran and High-fibre bran were excluded as they are not specifically marketed to the youth.

All measures are based on 100 grams of cereal, excluding milk and added sugar.

Cereal comparison

Cereal Energy (kJ) Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbohydrates (g) Of which is sugar (g)
Kellogg’s Coco Pops 1525 1.5 699 83 36.0
Kellogg’s Strawberry Pops 1485 0.9 722 82 33.0
Bokomo Choco Scoops 1465 1.4 312 75 31.8
Nestlé Bar One 1683 5.7 162 75 30.0
Nestlé Milo 1625 4.5 98 73 29.3
Kellogg’s Coco Pops Crunchers 1612 2.5 310 78 29.0
Bokomo Choc Bitz 1813 17.1 166 60 27.0
Bokomo Frosted Flakes 1502 0.6 720 81 24.9
Bokomo Honey Crunchies 1398 1.2 3 69 23.7
Kellogg’s Frosties 1596 0.4 647 73 22.0
Bokomo Otees 1456 4.4 405 69 22.0
Jungle Oatso Easy 1640 9.0 393 62 14.0
Bokomo ProNutro 1565 7.3 246 56 14.0
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 1351 1.0 623 70 8.0
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies 467 1.5 650 25 2.0

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies came out at the top in our findings, with a tiny 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cereal. However, this cereal is commonly eaten with added sugar to taste, which is not included in the tally.

This is common trend among cereals which one usually adds sugar to (such as Corn Flakes and Jungle Oatso Easy).

On the other side of the sugar cube, Coco the Monkey is leading the charge for the biggest sugar punch, with 36 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cereal.

The recommended portion size for a cereal breakfast is 30g, thus more than a third (11g) of a single portion of Coco Pops is sugar.

Close behind the chocolate rice pops is the strawberry variety, with Strawberry pops carrying 33 grams of sugar per 100 grams, with Bokomo’s Choco Scoops in third with 31.8 grams of sugar.

In terms of overall energy, Bokomo’s Choc Bitz – which have actual chocolate and vanilla chips in – are the biggest villain, carrying 1,813 kJ per 100 grams, and 17.1 grams of fat.

Coco Pops

1. Kellogg’s Coco Pops – 36g of sugar / 100g

Strawberry pops

2. Kellogg’s Strawberry Pops – 33g of sugar / 100g

Choco Scoops

3. Bokomo Chocolate Scoops – 31.8g of sugar / 100g

Bar One

4. Nestlé Bar One Cereal – 30g of sugar per 100g


5. Nestlé Milo Cereal – 29.3g of sugar per 100g

Coco pops crunchers

6. Kellogg’s Coco Pops Crunchers – 29g of sugar per 100g

Choc Bitz

7. Bokomo Nature’s Source Choc Bitz – 27g of sugar / 100g

Frosted Flakes

8. Bokomo Frosted Flakes – 24.9g of sugar / 100g

Honey crunchies

9. Bokomo Honey Crunchies – 23.7g of sugar / 100g


10. Kellogg’s Frosties – 22g of sugar / 100g


11. Bokomo Otees – 22g of sugar / 100g

Jungle Oatso Easy

12. Jungle Oatso Easy – 14g of sugar / 100g


13. Bokomo ProNutro Banana (Wheat Free) – 14g of sugar / 100g

Corn Flakes

14. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – 8g of sugar / 100g

Rice Krispies

15. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies – 2g of sugar / 100g

More on health

South Africa’s sugary drinks shock

The most fattening fast food kids meals in South Africa

Why South Africa needs a sugar tax

The healthiest fast food meals in South Africa

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