McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

June 26, 2012

Cereal makers spend $156 million to get kids hooked on sugar

Do cereal companies value profits over children's health?

(Continued)

Additionally, out of the 22 cereal brands that are promoted towards children, 45 percent of  the companies lowered the sodium levels between 2008 and 2011, 32 percent reduced levels of sugar, and 23 percent increased the amount of fiber in its children's cereals.

The amount of TV ads were also lowered between 2008 and 2011, after cereal companies received increased outside pressure. For preschoolers the amount of commercials for all kinds of cereal dropped by 6 percent, and ads for children type of cereals was lowered by 8 percent. Commercials targeted to children six to 11 were also lowered in the past three years or so.

Although some cereal companies have made strides in changing its advertising methods, some companies still promote a heavy amount of its least nutritious cereals to kids.  Kellogg's Froot Loops, General Mills Reese's Puffs, Trix, and Post Pebbles have all increased its advertising of unhealthy cereals to children.

Sugar dependency

One of the worse parts of sugary cereals being advertised to children, is the role it plays on kids potentially having sugar dependency as they grow older.

According to statistics by the American Diabetes Association, 25.6 million people age 20 or over have diabetes, and many believe sugar addiction starts at a very young age.

In 2008, a group of researchers suggested that sugar affects opiods and dopamine in the brain, making the sweet additive very hard to stop using once a person is accustomed to having it. Health experts say that sugar shouldn't make up more than 10 percent of a persons diet.

Experts also say to properly wean a child or adult of sugar, one must do their best to stop cold turkey.

Sugar is so tasty and potentially addictive, trying to simply lower the amount without stopping completely will be too difficult. It's Similar to how an alcoholic or drug addict can't just lower their used amount and be okay, they must quit entirely.

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