Sugar by a different name

03/10/2018

As featured on Today Tonight.

The public is being misled by unclear food package labeling, making it hard to make informed decisions about what to eat.

Added sugar is not currently included on the nutrition information panel on food packages (natural and added sugar are lumped together) however a recent LiveLighter survey revealed that 82% of West Australian adults are in favour of added sugar labeling.

Consuming too much sugar is known to contribute to weight gain and being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and non-alcohol fatty liver disease. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 7 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

LiveLighter analysis

We conducted a nutrition analysis of all breakfast cereals tagged as ‘cereal’ or ‘muesli’ that were available through Coles and Woolworths online on 7th September 2018 - a total of 234 breakfast cereals were included in the analysis.

Across the cereals analysed we found 26 different names for sugar! 1 in 10 breakfast cereals had 4 or more names for sugar listed in the ingredients list.

LiveLighter guidelines suggest healthy and unhealthy amounts of sugar in food:

  • Best choice - less than 5g of sugar per 100g
  • Okay sometimes - 5 to 15g of sugar per 100g
  • Poor choice - more than 15g of sugar per 100g

The average amount of sugar in the breakfast cereals was 16.6g per 100g (so on average, breakfast cereal exceeded the sugar guidelines!)

Only 10% of cereals met our 'best choice' criteria. This included oats and unsweetened porridge, Weet-Bix, Oat Brits, Vita Brits, Shredded wheat, Weeties and Rice flakes.

An astonishing 62% of cereals fit into the 'poor choice' category, and 13% of cereals were more than a quarter sugar!

Take home

To protect the health of you and your family choose breakfast cereals with less than 5g of sugar per 100g.