Excellent request for a Chewsday review of the Low Sugar Cheerios. You might have seen them on the shelf and wondered if 'low sugar' is code for 'high fat', or maybe the sugar has just been replaced with another sort of sugar and called something different (lots of products out there doing this!) So, without further ado, I review Uncle Toby's Low Sugar Cheerios.
🔶Ingredients: 🔹Wholegrain cereals make up 78% of this product. The fact that they're 'whole', as opposed to 'parts' of the grain is a real positive. Health benefits of wholegrain consumption are many. 🔹Remaining ingredients are wheat starch, sunflower oil, salt, colours and an acidity regulator. These ingredients help the wholegrain bond together to form the circular Cheerio shape, otherwise this product would just be cereal flakes (a bit like Weeties). 🔹Added vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc and folate.
🔶The positives: 🔹Low sugar content. Only 1.5% of this product is sugar, and none of that is added during processing. The small amount of sugar exists naturally in wholegrains. In comparison, Weetbix contains 3.3% sugar and Coco Pops contains 36.5% sugar. Regular Cheerios contain 14.7% sugar in the form of regular sugar and golden syrup. 🔹Reasonable fibre content. Ideally you want to aim for 3g of fibre per SERVE, and this cereal contains 2.5g of fibre per serve. In comparison, Weetbix contains 3.3g of fibre per serve and Coco Pops provides 0.5g of fibre per serve. 🔹Low fat and saturated fat content. Most breakfast cereals are low in fat, unless they contain nuts or are 'toasted' like muesli. Cheerios meet all guidelines for fat, with 4.5g total fat per 100g and 0.7g of saturated fat per 100g. 🔹Low Sugar Cheerios are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which basically means extra nutrition has been added to the cereal during production. These vitamins and minerals are usually not as easily absorbed as naturally occurring sources, but they definitely do count. For example, most of my clients are struggling to get enough iron in their diet (usually from meat sources) and a serve of Cheerios would give them a big boost of iron- up to 1/3 of their daily requirements. (Also check out my homemade chicken nuggets using these Low Sugar Cheerios in the bread crumb- here) 🔹Relatively low sodium content compared to most breakfast cereals. This product contains 295mg of sodium per 100g. In comparison, Weetbix contains 270mg of sodium per 100g and Coco Pops contains 425mg per 100g.
🔶The negatives: 🔹Nutritionally, these Low Sugar Cheerios perform pretty well. I'd be hard pressed to pick out a big negative. 🔹In terms of taste, I would liken these Cheerios to cardboard. They're pretty bland, with a bit of crunch. Having said that, most of my fussy clients love plain, boring and crunchy foods, and most of my clients seem to love this product. So, I guess that's a win for kids and parents alike!
🔶The marketing: 🔹This product really cashes in on the 'sugar fear' that I'm seeing on a daily basis. Parents are terrified of their kids eating sugar, because they've been told all sorts of outrageous things about what sugar does. Don't get me started on the one where sugar lights up your brain like cocaine does...ugh. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for Froot Loops here (partly because the spelling of Froot really bugs me!), but I truly believe that the hype around sugar is WAY out of control. A lovely client of mine has recently asked for a blog post about my views on sugar so watch this space! 🔹As always, no artificial colours or flavours. Additionally, no artificial sweeteners (which means they haven't replaced sugar with a different sweetener). 🔹4.5 health stars, which I think is a good reflection of the nutritional content (often health stars can be a bit confusing!)
🔶The alternatives: 🔹I think these are a pretty good option 🔹Similar foods like low-processed cereals including Weetbix, Weeties and oats.
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page. You can also email them.