Cereal bars: Healthy image a myth - Which?

Spoonful of sugar Many of the cereal bars were found to be high in sugar

Related Stories

The image of cereal bars as a healthy snack is a "myth", according to a study by Which?

The consumer group found all but one of the 30 bars it analysed were high in sugar, with more than half containing over 30% sugar.

One bar, Nutri-Grain Elevenses, contained nearly four teaspoons - more than in a small can of cola and 20% of the recommended daily allowance.

Other snacks it analysed were found to be high in fat and saturated fat.

The Tracker Roasted Nut bar, for example, was almost a third fat.

Meanwhile, six of the seven cereal bars targeted at children were high in saturated fat, the study found.

And Monster Puffs, a cereal bar marketed to children and described as "great for your lunchbox", contained 43.5% sugar - more than two teaspoons.


Which? compared the nutritional content of the bars using the manufacturers' information and applied traffic light labelling to see if the levels of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt were high, medium or low.

The Nakd Apple Pie was the only bar in the study that did not contain any added sugar, while the Alpen Light Apple and Sultana was the only one to have three green traffic lights for fat, saturated fat and salt.

Start Quote

People often choose cereal bars in the belief they're healthier than chocolate or biscuits, but our research shows this can be a myth”

End Quote Richard Lloyd Which?

Which? is calling for manufacturers to reduce sugar and fat in food products marketed to children and for tighter controls over the way they are promoted.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "People often choose cereal bars in the belief they're healthier than chocolate or biscuits, but our research shows this can be a myth."

A spokeswoman for Kellogg's, which makes the Nutri-Grain Elevenses bar and some of the other snacks tested, said: "We're confused as to why anyone would call a Nutri-Grain Elevenses snack a cereal bar.

"If you've eaten one you know it's not. It's a baked bar and looks and eats much more like a muffin or cake.

"We bake it like a cake and market it as a mid-morning snack.

"In fact, compared to other similar mid-morning snacks, it's one of the choices that has slightly less sugar than the norm."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    Yes nuts are full of fats raisins full of sugar etc. Being "smart" doesnt hide ignorance. What fats or sugars? Essential fats & not processed cane sugar. Add beneficial vitamins and minerals bodies need & fibre etc. No one is saying eat 50 kilos of fruit & nuts. Balance your diet & yes 344 MODERATION. Be smart abt what you put in your mouth, its up to you alone, otherwise accept your bad choices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    I find the tone of alot of these 'health' articles to be too dogmatic. I have worked with people suffering from eating disorders, and alot of their anxiety surrounding food stems from media scaremongering regarding sugars and fats. Where is the emphasis on moderation and leading a healthy lifestyle? As long as we have an awareness about what we eat, then these things are not a problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Every one is responsible for their own decisions on types of foods to eat. Eat the wrong food and face the consequences. If you eat to much fat chances are you will become fatter. Any processed food will contain high levels of fats and sugars - that's the way life is. What I object to is the manufacturers trying to make us think the food is healthy when it obviously isn't.

  • Comment number 229.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    I have three children, now in their mid-20s, all at the extreme lower end of 'healthy' BMI and they all start work early in the morning so they have a bar or 2 for breakfast as they can be eaten while travelling and no washing-up. The thing is AS breakfast (or other meal) NOT IN ADDITION TO breakfast. And nuts (fat) and fruit (sugar) are their snacks of choice.


Comments 5 of 13


More Health stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.