That bowl of cereal every morning can do as much harm to your waistline as dessert. Most people do not realize how much sugar is in the cereal they eat, and it is not just Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Puffs with a high sugar content. Even “healthy” cereals such as Honey Bunches of Oats, Kashi, and Cheerios can increase your daily sugar intake more than you think.


Photo by Daniel Go

The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of 20 grams of sugar for women, 36 grams for men, and 12 grams for children. How much sugar does cereal have? Let’s take a look at four different cereals:

3/4 cup of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds: 6 grams of sugar
1 cup of Kashi GOLEAN Crunch!: 13 grams of sugar
3/4 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios: 9 grams of sugar
3/4 cups of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes: 11 grams of sugar
1 cup of General Mills Cocoa Puffs: 12.7 grams of sugar

The numbers may not seem that high when you look at the nutrition label, but most people eat more than ¾ or 1 cup of cereal. Try measuring out ¾ or 1 cup of cereal and you will see what a small portion the recommended serving size is. If an average cereal bowl holds about two cups of cereal, yikes! Two cups of Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! cereal is 26 grams of sugar—for breakfast alone. That is more than the recommended daily intake for women and more than double the recommended daily intake for children.

So if you are trying to eat healthy, drop that spoon! It’s so easy to grab a carton of milk and bowl, but is sacrificing your health worth it? Try kicking off your day with a more nutritious breakfast, like Greek yogurt with nuts and cinnamon, or a simple omelet with mushrooms and spinach. Your waistline will thank you, and a healthy breakfast will keep you satisfied and energized longer than cold cereal will.