Would chew believe it?

PUBLISHED: 13:07 23 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:37 28 May 2010

Steph Fowler and Emma Overland

Steph Fowler and Emma Overland

IF your new year's resolution is to improve your diet, then be wary of swapping your bowl of cereal for breakfast-on-the-run eating a cereal bar. Claims that they may be a healthier alternative could be misleading, says Cambridgeshire County Council's tra

IF your new year's resolution is to improve your diet, then be wary of swapping your bowl of cereal for breakfast-on-the-run eating a cereal bar.Claims that they may be a healthier alternative could be misleading, says Cambridgeshire County Council's trading standards department.Tests revealed that some cereal bars, which claimed to be either healthy or an alternative to breakfast, were less filling than a bowl of cereal or had more than four times the amount of sugar recommended by food experts.Bars from Cambridgeshire were sent with others from across the UK by trading standards to be tested and compared with the equivalent bowl of cereal.Malcolm Taylor, from the council's trading standards, said: "In these days of ever-increasing convenience foods, the traditional bowl of cereal breakfast is now challenged by the breakfast-on-the-run cereal bars. "But people who are taking some of these instead of breakfast could be misled to think it is healthier or a suitable alternative."In fact, because they are smaller and provide, in general, less nutrition, people may be more likely to snack mid-morning."Worryingly, those bars that suggested health benefits had high sugar levels compared with Food Standard Agency guidelines, and those which advertised themselves as breakfast bars were not nutritionally equivalent to a bowl of cereal. "Breakfast is an important meal but do not be fooled by misleading claims by some of these bars."None of the 102 cereal bars submitted for testing contained the equivalent nutrition to a bowl of cereal with milk.The protein content of the bars was generally lower and, on average, you would need to eat five bars to get the same amount of protein as an equivalent bowl of cereal.There were 22 bars which bore labels implying health-giving properties, but all had more sugar in them than the Food Standards Agency guidelines. The agency suggests that 10g or more of sugar in 100g is a lot. The 22 bars had up to five times that amount.

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