Froot Loops vs. Healthy Cereals

Big Bite!
A spoonful of froot loops. (Image: Lewis Wright/iStock/Getty Images)

Kellogg's Froot Loops is a multicolored, sugar-filled processed breakfast cereal marketed to children by the cartoon character Toucan Sam. The front of Froot Loop's colorful packaging boasts fiber and whole grains, but not the high sugar content. Froot Loops does not have the nutritional value of a healthy cereal.

Ingredients and Nutrition

Sugar is the first ingredient on the list in Kellogg's Froot Loops. Grains include whole-grain corn flour, wheat flour, which is not a whole grain, and whole-grain oat flour. Froot Loops contains oat fiber and soluble corn fiber. This cereal contains hydrogenated vegetable oil, a trans fat. It also contains natural fruit flavors and several dyes and artificial colors. It's fortified with vitamins and minerals and contains BHT, a chemical preservative. A 1-cup serving contains 110 calories, 1 g of fat, 25 g of carbohydrates, including 3 g of fiber and 12 g of sugar, and 1 g of protein.

Healthy Cereal

A healthy cereal doesn't contain trans fat, artificial color or chemical preservatives, according to pediatrician Dr. William Sears. When choosing a healthy cereal, look for no more than 5 g of sugar and no less than 5 g of fiber and 3 g of protein per serving. Froot Loops contain 12 g -- or 3 tsp. -- of sugar, 3 g of fiber and 1 g of protein. A healthy cereal will contain 25 to 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of zinc iron, and other vitamins; Froot Loops falls short in zinc and vitamins A and D.

Trans Fat

The Froot Loops nutrition label claims zero trans fat, even though the cereal contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. This is possible because manufacturers are not required to list trans fat on the label if the food contains 0.5 g of trans fat or less. Trans fat is harmful to heart health. It's considered the most damaging fat because it raises damaging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while lowering beneficial HDL cholesterol. It also damages the cells lining the blood vessels. The American Heart Association recommends trans fat be limited to 1 percent of calories, or 2 g, for a person who eats 2,000 calories per day. (Reference 6)

Sugar

Kellogg's Froot Loops are 41 percent sugar by weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Women should limit their sugar intake to 6 tsp., or 24 g, per day and men should limit it to 9 tsp, or 36 g, per day. One serving of Froot Loops has 3 tsp., or 12 g, of sugar. High-sugar foods cause blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. Over time, these levels remain high, a condition known as insulin resistance. This condition is linked to high triglycerides, high blood pressure, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and possibly some types of cancer.

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